Search This Site

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

Mind-Blindness and Alexithymia in Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum

Two traits often found in children and teens with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) 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. Let's look at each of these in turn...

Mind-Blindness—

Mind-blindness is essentially the opposite of empathy and can be described as “an inability to develop an awareness of what is in the mind of another person.” Generally speaking, children with mind-blindness are delayed in developing a “theory of mind,” which normally allows developing children to “put themselves into someone else's shoes” (i.e., to imagine the thoughts and feelings of others). Thus, kids with HFA often cannot conceptualize, understand, or predict emotional states in other people. 
 

Alexithymia—

Alexithymia can be described as a state of deficiency in understanding, processing, or describing emotions, and is defined by:
  1. a stimulus-bound, externally oriented cognitive style
  2. constricted imaginal processes, as evidenced by a scarcity of fantasies
  3. difficulty describing feelings to other people
  4. difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal

There may be two kinds of alexithymia:
  1. primary alexithymia: an enduring psychological trait that does not alter over time
  2. secondary alexithymia: is state-dependent and disappears after the evoking stressful situation has changed

Typical deficiencies that result from alexithymia may include:
  • a lack imagination, intuition, empathy, and drive-fulfillment fantasy, especially in relation to objects
  • a lack of understanding of the feelings of others
  • concrete, realistic, logical thinking, often to the exclusion of emotional responses to problems
  • confusion of physical sensations often associated with emotions
  • difficulty distinguishing between feelings and the bodily sensations of emotional arousal
  • few dreams or fantasies due to restricted imagination
  • may treat themselves as robots
  • oriented toward things
  • problems identifying, describing, and working with one's own feelings
  • very logical and realistic dreams (e.g., going to the store or eating a meal)

Alexithymia creates interpersonal problems because these children and teens avoid emotionally close relationships, or if they do form relationships with others, they tend to position themselves as either dependent, dominant, or impersonal (such that the relationship remains superficial).

Alexithymia frequently co-occurs with other disorders, with a representative prevalence of:

• 34% in panic disorder
• 40% in post-traumatic stress disorder
• 45% in major depressive disorder
• 50% in substance abusers
• 56% in bulimia
• 63% in anorexia nervosa
• 85% in autism spectrum disorders

Alexithymia also occurs in people with traumatic brain injury. 
 

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

HFA children and teens report a feeling of being unwillingly detached from the world around them. As adults, they may have difficulty finding a life partner or getting married due to poor social skills. The complexity and inconsistency of the social world can pose an extreme challenge for children and teens on the autism spectrum.

It is unclear what causes alexithymia, though several theories have been proposed. There is evidence both for a genetic basis (i.e., some people are predisposed to develop alexithymia), as well as for environmental causes. Although environmental, neurological, and genetic factors are each involved, the role of genetic and environmental factors for developing alexithymia is still unclear.

What Can Be Done?

HFA children and teens can learn to compensate for mindblindness and alexithymia with the parent’s help and a lifetime of constant counseling by therapists who specialize in Aspergers. With good help, these young people can grow up to lead nearly normal lives.

Parents must understand that their "special needs" child must be taught to use logic to make sense of the world and the people in it, one personal situation at a time. Here are some “rules” that may help parents in assisting their youngster (teach these rules to your child):
  1. Every human behavior has a reason behind it, even if I don’t see it.
  2. Most people usually talk about the things they want, and openly say what they believe.
  3. Some people are so messed up that it is just not possible to figure them out. Know when to give up.
  4. When somebody’s behavior flies in the face of logic, concentrate on that person’s feelings.
  5. Women talk more than men and focus on feelings more.

A parent’s strategy should be to:
  • get their child obsessed with the need to make sense of the world and help him/her understand that the mysteries of human behavior disappear when one understands the appropriate states of mind behind them
  • help him/her realize that once the state of mind is understood, people’s future behavior can be anticipated
 
But, how does a parent do that when their child isn’t motivated to do so because they don’t realize there’s a need?

A parent must:

1. Constantly explain people’s states of mind to the child and what they mean until he learns to figure them out on his own. This means explaining the wants, needs, and beliefs that drive human behavior and the reasons behind all the unwritten rules that are part of human relationships.

2. Convince her child that he can and will make a success of life, as many other people with the disorder have. You must explain the states of mind of these people and why they do what they do – over and over.

3. Explain before punishing. If you punish a child for doing “behavior A,” all that he is going to learn is that if he does “behavior A” again, he is going to be punished again. He will not understand why he should not do “behavior A” in the first place.

4. Explain his challenges and that he is in a state of confusion without being aware of it.

5. Explain his own needs to him. It is only when he understands what he wants himself that he will have a basis for understanding that others also have wants, and that peoples’ wants are what makes them behave the way they do. 
 

6. Explain how each person feels about the world and about his own life.

7. Explain that every person has a different set of values and that their behavior is driven by these values.

8. Explain that he should ask you questions about things he doesn’t understand.

9. Explain why you explain things to him.

10. Explain your own state of mind and emotions constantly.

11. Protect her child from the cruelty of bullies. Some people are not going to pass up the opportunity to treat him badly. You should explain that this is going to happen, and that he should not feel ashamed to go to you for support.

12. Teach the child to make sense of the world by himself (eventually).

It is this constant explaining by parents – and counseling by therapists – over years and years of living, repeated over and over again, that eventually will help the AS or HFA individual break through the bonds of mindblindness and alexithymia. You child WILL learn to handle life successfully, on his own. Don’t give up – keep trying and get others to help you.  


More resources for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:
 


____________________

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

____________________

The "Suicide Threat" in Teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorder

"Can teenagers with ASD Level 1 (high functioning autism) become so depressed that they become a risk for suicide?"

Unfortunately, the answer is ‘yes’. Research reveals a 50% demonstration of what we call “suicidal ideation” (i.e., talking about killing yourself) with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autistic teens.

When we look at the cases of teens on the autism spectrum who have attempted suicide or talk about committing suicide, the main issues usually revolve around self-esteem and social isolation. Thus, the parents and teachers should be as supportive as possible.

Here are 25 tips to show parents how to be supportive of a suicidal teenager:

1. A teenager who you feel is “high risk” for suicide should never be left alone, if even for a moment. Keep talking to that person, and stay with him or her.

2. Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide.

3. Ask if they have a plan. If so, take them seriously and move quickly to get help. Remove anything that would help them carry out their plan – guns, drugs, alcohol, knives, etc.

4. Depression in one youngster can cause stress or anxiety in other family members, so make sure “healthy” kids are not ignored. Siblings may need special individual attention or professional help of their own to handle their feelings about the situation. 
 
5. Don’t act shocked.

6. Don’t ask “why.” This encourages defensiveness.

7. Don’t bait the suicidal. Don’t say, “I think you’re just bluffing. I don’t believe you.”

8. Don’t be afraid to talk with him about suicide. Talking about it does not make it worse, but better. Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.

9. Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Get support.

10. Don’t give up if your adolescent shuts you out at first. Talking about depression can be very tough for teens. Be respectful of your youngster’s comfort level while still emphasizing your concern and willingness to listen.

11. Don’t tiptoe around the issue of teen depression in an attempt to “protect” the other kids. Kids know when something is wrong. When left in the dark, their imaginations will often jump to far worse conclusions. Be open about what is going on and invite your kids to ask questions and share their feelings.

12. Don’t try to talk teens out of their depression, even if their feelings or concerns appear silly or irrational to you. Simply acknowledge the pain and sadness they are feeling. If you don’t, they will feel like you don’t take their emotions seriously.

13. Encourage your adolescent to stay active. Exercise can go a long way toward relieving the symptoms of depression, so find ways to incorporate it into your adolescent’s day. Something as simple as walking the dog or going on a bike ride can be beneficial.

14. Get the emotional support you need. Reach out to friends, join a support group, or see a therapist of your own. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, helpless, or angry. The important thing is to talk about how your teen’s depression is affecting you, rather than bottling up your emotions.

15. In order to help a depressed teen, you need to stay healthy and positive yourself, so don’t ignore your own needs. The stress of the situation can affect your own moods and emotions, so cultivate your well–being by eating right, getting enough sleep, and making time for things you enjoy. 
 
16. Isolation only makes depression worse, so encourage your adolescent to see friends and praise efforts to socialize. Offer to take your teen out with friends or suggest social activities that might be of interest, such as sports, after-school clubs, or an art class.

17. It can be easy to blame yourself or another family member for your teen’s depression, but it only adds to an already stressful situation. Furthermore, depression is normally caused by a number of factors, so it’s unlikely—except in the case of abuse or neglect—that any loved one is “responsible”.

18. Just like you would if your youngster had a disease you knew very little about, read up on depression so that you can be your own “expert.” The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to help your depressed teen. Encourage your adolescent to learn more about depression as well. Reading up on their condition can help depressed teens realize that they’re not alone and give them a better understanding of what they’re going through.

19. Let depressed adolescents know that you’re there for them, fully and unconditionally. Hold back from asking a lot of questions (adolescents don’t like to feel patronized or crowded), but make it clear that you’re ready and willing to provide whatever support they need.

20. Living with a depressed adolescent can be difficult and draining. At times, you may experience exhaustion, rejection, despair, aggravation, or any other number of negative emotions. During this trying time, it’s important to remember that your youngster is not being difficult on purpose. Your teen is suffering, so do your best to be patient and understanding.

21. Make sure you take any threat of suicide seriously. Of all the people who have committed suicide, 80% have given some kind of warning.
 

22. Make sure your adolescent is following all treatment instructions and going to therapy. It’s especially important that your youngster takes any prescribed medication as instructed. Track changes in your teen’s condition, and call the doctor if depression symptoms seem to be getting worse.

23. Offer hope that alternatives are available.

24. Resist any urge to criticize or pass judgment once your adolescent begins to talk. The important thing is that your youngster is communicating. Avoid offering unsolicited advice or ultimatums as well.

25. You could very well be that voice of hope to someone you love. Most times a suicidal person needs someone close to them to be a voice of hope. 
 
Because of the very real danger of suicide, Aspergers teens who are depressed should be watched closely for any signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior. The warning signs include:
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family as if for good
  • Saying things like, “I’d be better off dead,” “I wish I could disappear forever,” or “There’s no way out”
  • Seeking out weapons, pills, or other ways to kill themselves
  • Speaking positively about death or romanticizing dying (“If I died, people might love me more”)
  • Talking or joking about committing suicide
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Writing stories and poems about death, dying, or suicide



Follow-up Question:

"My son Avi is 14 years old. He was diagnosed with Aspergers at age 9 and since then, has been attending a special ed class within a regular school. He’s generally happy in the class, he has a great teacher and a peer group with whom he can identify and feel comfortable. He is the middle of 7 children. Recently, his 16 year old brother, with whom Avi usually has a fairly good relationship, got frustrated with Avi and told him that if he didn’t change (stop talking incessantly about Pokemon, have better attitude to homework, etc) that he’d never get anywhere in life. Avi sometimes has extreme reactions, but this time his reaction had a new and scary aspect. He lay down on the floor, crawl up the stairs towards his bedroom, breathing heavily and growling “I’m no good, I’ll never amount to anything, I might as well be dead”, and then he climbed on his bed and tried to climb out of the window, as if to jump out. I managed to calm him down, it took about an hour, he took a bath, went to bed and never mentioned it again. I’m not sure if he would have jumped, or if he was “play-acting” the role of a suicidal person (he’s very imaginative) but it was very frightening. My question is: Avi is a fragile personality without resources to deal with a simple insult. How can I speak to him about suicide, when he’s calm, and give him the TOOLS he needs to deal with insults, as I’m sure this won't be the last time that someone insults or offends him?"


Answer:

First of all, I’m very sure he was play-acting and has no intention of committing suicide.

Secondly, he obviously looks up to his older brother and values his opinion (otherwise, he wouldn’t have over-reacted like this). So you may want to have a conversation with your older son that he needs to be careful what he says to his younger brother.

Thirdly, what we are dealing with here is a child with very low self-esteem. I think this is the core issue. Children with Aspergers and HFA have a much harder time with their self-esteem. Here are just a few reasons why:

1. Expressive and comprehensive communication has a direct impact on a child’s self-esteem. These are areas that do not come easily to children on the autism spectrum.
2. The expectations of siblings and the all-too-frequent bullying interactions from many peers can leave an Aspergers or HFA child feeling devastated.
3. The visits to doctors, or speech therapists, or OTs, the testing, and the stream of interventions that we try with them can easily leave them feeling like they're under the microscope, a specimen that warrants investigation, a person who needs fixing.
4. They often perceive the constant correction of their behaviors and their social interactions as criticism
5. Understanding subtle jokes and participating in human interplay, actions natural to their neurotypical peers, further increase their feelings of 'not fitting in' and erode their self-esteem.

Here's how you can play an important role in promoting healthy self-esteem in your son:

1. As parents, we must believe in our children’s value ourselves before we can ever change their minds. These children know when we're faking our compliments or arbitrarily handing out encouragement because the therapy book says we should give 5 positive comments to each correction. 

2. Be a positive role model. If you're excessively harsh on yourself, pessimistic, or unrealistic about your abilities and limitations, your son may eventually mirror you. Nurture your own self-esteem, and your son will have a great role model.

3. Be spontaneous and affectionate. Your love will go a long way to boost your son's self-esteem. Give hugs and tell him you're proud of them. Pop a note in your son's lunchbox that reads, "I think you're terrific!" Give praise frequently and honestly, without overdoing it. Children can tell whether something comes from the heart.
 
==> Launching Adult Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

4. Believing in your son involves empathy, walking in their shoes, rather than sympathy; no one wants to be felt sorry for. Each child is a gift, with his own special qualities. We just need to look for these special gifts, tune into the child with our hearts, and bring their essence out.

5. Create a safe, loving home environment. Children who don't feel safe or are abused at home will suffer immensely from low self-esteem.

6. Empower your son to be himself, perfectly okay with who and how he is. Do this by loving him for who he is now, today, not who you think he should become someday. 

7. Encourage your son to share his thoughts and feelings; this is so important and often sheds new light on existing situations. 

8. Explain the disorder to your son when he is able to understand his disorder. Who are we really kidding, other than ourselves, when we pretend a child does not have the autism label, or we try to camouflage it? Who are we hurting? It's the child who is hurt in the long run.

9. Give positive, accurate feedback. Statements like, "You were really mad at your brother. But I appreciate that you didn't yell at him or hit him" acknowledges a child’s feelings, rewards the choice made, and encourages him to make the right choice again next time.

10. Go to conferences, read books, research and share information that takes into consideration the many sensory, social, behavioral and communication challenges faced by your child. Armed with this understanding of how the disability affects him, you and others can better find ways to help him fit in. 

11. Help your son become involved in constructive experiences. Activities that encourage cooperation rather than competition are especially helpful in fostering self-esteem. For example, mentoring programs in which an older child helps a younger one learn to read can do wonders for both children.

12. Identify and redirect your son's inaccurate beliefs. It's important for you to identify your son’s irrational beliefs about himself, whether they're about perfection, attractiveness, ability, or anything else. Helping children set more accurate standards and be more realistic in evaluating themselves will help them have a healthy self-concept. Inaccurate perceptions of self can take root and become reality to children.

13. Keep your son’s life manageable, refraining from overwhelming him with so many activities that he becomes too challenged physically and mentally to succeed at anything. Like most people, children with Aspergers and HFA feel better about themselves when they're balanced physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 
 
==> Launching Adult Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

14. Provide choices to your son frequently so he understands that he has a say in his own life -- and even let him be in charge sometimes. 

15. Since children on the spectrum are often very picky eaters and gravitate towards junk food, it's important to try supplementing their diet. Also, provide regular physical activity, when possible, to relieve stress and clear his mind. 

16. Watch for signs of abuse by others, problems in school, trouble with peers, and other factors that may affect your son’s self-esteem. Deal with these issues sensitively - but swiftly. 

17. Watch what you say. Kids on the spectrum are very sensitive to their parent’s words. Remember to praise your son not only for a job well done, but also for effort. But be truthful. For example, if your son doesn't make the soccer team, avoid saying something like, "Well, next time you'll work harder and make it." Instead, try "Well, you didn't make the team, but I'm really proud of the effort you put into it." Reward effort and completion instead of outcome.

18. Lastly, when we say, "You are great!" to your son often enough, he, too, will believe it and feel valued for who he truly is.
 

Bereavement Problems in Children on the Autism Spectrum

"We lost my father-in-law last month due to Covid virus. My 12-year-old son with autism [high functioning] is totally devastated. It is not helped by the fact that, before the schools closed, he was spending the time before school and after school at his Grandma’s house and will now be reminded of Granddad’s absence by his empty chair. Due to the fact that I have to work full time, my sons have spent much of their time from Monday to Friday with their grandparents, so it is like their second home - they even have their own bedrooms there! I am finding it very difficult to help him come to terms with Granddad’s death. He is OK most of the time, but will then fall into a black mood and will overreact to the slightest incident and go into a meltdown. Do you have any advice on what I can do to help him?"

As you know, High-Functioning Autism (Asperger's) is a neurobiological disorder. Kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulties with transitions, social interaction, and responses to social situations. With regard to the emotional aspects of death and grief, your son may react, as you have seen, by getting upset or angry. These reactions occur because he doesn’t fully understand what has happened and why it happened, and due to his ASD, doesn’t know how to ask for help in handling the death of his grandfather. Many people without the disorder react to a death with anger and despair, too.

Many kids with ASD feel that if a beloved relative dies, a “rule” has been broken (i.e., good people should not die), and they feel very hurt. So, when it happens, the child feels betrayed. This can lead to anger and outbursts. In addition, any unexpected event is particularly difficult. You son finds it hard to grieve and doesn’t know how to handle his feelings of despair and sadness. He may not be able to express his grief through tears or talking.

Even if your son can’t ask for help, it is definitely called for in this situation. Patience, understanding, and support on your part are required. Be sensitive to his need to talk if he exhibits one, and don’t put up barriers to it, such as telling him he’s too young to understand what happened. If he doesn’t show a need to discuss the death, you should open a discussion anyway. It may be wise to ask a counselor or psychologist to talk with him, too.

Kids and teens with ASD have average or higher levels of intelligence and will appreciate honest, simple explanations about death and grief. Explain that birth is the beginning of life, and death is the end of life, and that when someone dies, we feel bad because we loved the person, didn’t want him to die, and we will miss him. Don’t tell him his grandfather “went to sleep,” “went away,” “got sick,” that only old people die, or that the death was “God’s will.” All of these are open to misinterpretations, such as “If I go to sleep when I’m sick, will I die?” Or, “Will God make me die?” At his age, your son is able to understand that death is irreversible and that he will die eventually, but he needs reassurance that he will most likely live a long time.

Some questions your son asks may seem insensitive, for example, “Are you going to die, Mom?” He may show curiosity about dead animals or ask about what happens physically to dead things. These questions may seem gruesome, but they are a way of learning about death. Children should not be made to feel guilty or embarrassed about their curiosity.

Your son may feel that the death of his grandfather, who was a good person, was unfair. This is the time to gently explain that many things that happen in life are not fair and that we should try to help each other cope when unfair things happen. Perhaps, discussing some nice things to do for his grandmother would help him feel needed. Many of the kids respond very well to being needed by others.

Your son will need a lot of time to accept this death and may react with anger at unexpected times. Be understanding. Time will help ease the pain. Use books to help him understand and provide a good model of acceptable behavior for him. Also, keeping a journal of his thoughts about his grandfather may help.

Moms and dads should be aware of normal childhood responses to a death in the family, as well as signs when a youngster is having difficulty coping with grief. It is normal during the weeks following the death for some kids to feel immediate grief or persist in the belief that the family member may “come back” someday. However, long-term denial of the death or avoidance of grief can be emotionally unhealthy and can later lead to more severe problems.

Once kids accept the death, they are likely to display their feelings of sadness on and off over a long period of time, and often at unexpected moments. The surviving relatives should spend as much time as possible with the youngster, making it clear that the youngster has permission to show his feelings openly or freely.

The person who has died was essential to the stability of the youngster's world, and anger is a natural reaction. The anger may be revealed in boisterous play, nightmares, irritability, or a variety of other behaviors. Often the youngster will show anger towards the surviving family members.

Kids who are having serious problems with grief and loss may show one or more of these signs:
  • acting much younger for an extended period
  • an extended period of depression in which the youngster loses interest in daily activities and events
  • excessively imitating the dead person
  • inability to sleep
  • loss of appetite
  • prolonged fear of being alone
  • repeated statements of wanting to join the dead person
  • sharp drop in school performance
  • refusal to attend school
  • withdrawal from friends

If these signs persist, professional help may be needed. A child and adolescent psychiatrist or other qualified mental health professional that specializes in ASD can help children accept the death of a loved one and assist parents in helping children through the mourning process. 

SHARE WITH YOUR CHILD:



==> Has your child on the autism spectrum been experiencing a lot of sadness lately? If so, here are a bunch of suggestions to assist in the matter...



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

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

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

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

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

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

____________________

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

____________________

How to Reduce Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

As the years go by, are you seeing your Aspergers or HFA child rapidly becoming reduced to a person who is surviving on: anger, being a mistake, depression, hate, isolation, low self-esteem, resentment, sadness and self-hate.

Have you heard your Aspergers or HFA teenager say things like: I'm a mistake. I'm dumb. I'm useless. I hate myself. I wish I was dead. What is wrong with me? Why was I born?

If so, then alarm bells should be going off. You know changes need to happen! Low self-esteem and behavioral problems go hand-in-hand!!!

Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with ASD Level 1 [High-Functioning Autism]


From the office of Mark Hutten, M.A. - Counseling Psychologist

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Learn How to Reduce - and Eliminate - Meltdowns, Tantrums, Low-Frustration Tolerance, School-Related Behavior Problems, Sensory Sensitivities, Aggression, Social-Skills Deficits, and much more...




Dear parents,

I'd like to talk to you about my parenting system that significantly reduces problematic behavior in children and teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism (ASD Level 1).

"Parenting Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism" is a 4-part downloadable eBook (along with audio instruction) designed to help parents of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autistic kids who are experiencing behavioral difficulties. The program contains prevention, identification, and intervention strategies for the most destructive of autism-related behaviors.

Although Asperger's is at the milder end of the autism spectrum (i.e., high-functioning autism), the challenges parents face when raising a child on the autism spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an "average" child. Complicated by symptoms associated with the disorder, the HFA child is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels, unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” children and teens do not take into account the many issues facing a youngster with a neurological disorder. Meltdowns, shutdowns, aggression, sensory sensitivities, self-injury, isolation-seeking, and communication problems that arise are just some of the issues that parents of these young people will have to learn to address.

Parents need to come up with a consistent parenting plan ahead of time, and then present a united front and continually review their strategies for potential changes and improvements as the HFA child develops and matures.


==> Instant Access - Secure Payment Via ClickBank <==


Kids on the autism spectrum possess a unique set of attitudes and behaviors:

Social Skills— Social conventions are a confusing maze for young people with HFA. They can be disarmingly concise and to the point, and may take jokes and exaggerations literally. Because they struggle to interpret figures of speech and tones of voice that “neurotypicals” (non-autistic children) naturally pick up on, they may have difficulty engaging in a two-way conversation. As a result, they may end up fixating on their own interests and ignoring the interests and opinions of others.

Sensory Difficulties— Children on the autism spectrum can be extremely sensitive to loud noise, strong smells and bright lights. This can be a challenge in relationships as these "special needs" kids may be limited in where they can go, how well they can tolerate the environment, and how receptive they are to instruction from parents and teachers.

Routines and Fixations— These young people rely on routine to provide a sense of control and predictability in their lives. Another characteristic of the disorder is the development of special interests that are unusual in focus or intensity. These children may become so obsessed with their particular areas of interest that they get upset and angry when something or someone interrupts their schedule or activity.

Interpreting and Responding to Emotion— Children and teens on the spectrum often suffer from “mindblindness,” which means they have difficulty understanding the emotions others are trying to convey through facial expressions and body language. The problem isn’t that these kids can’t feel emotion, but that they have trouble expressing their own emotions and understanding the feelings of others. “Mindblindness” often give parents the impression that their child is insensitive, selfish and uncaring.

Awkwardness— Children with HFA tend to be physically and socially awkward, which makes them a frequent target of school bullies. Low self-esteem caused by being rejected and outcast by peers often makes these kids even more susceptible to “acting-out” behaviors at home and school.

School Failures— Many HFA children, with their average to above average IQs, can sail through grammar school, and yet hit academic and social problems in middle and high school. They now have to deal with four to six teachers, instead of just one. The likelihood that at least one teacher will be indifferent or even hostile toward making special accommodations is certain. The adolescent student on the autism spectrum now has to face a series of classroom environments with different classmates, odors, distractions and noise levels, and sets of expectations. HFA teenagers, with their distractibility and difficulty organizing materials, face similar academic problems as students with ADHD. A high school term paper or a science fair project becomes impossible to manage because no one has taught the teenager how to break it up into a series of small steps. Even though the academic stress on a "special needs" teenager can be overwhelming, school administrators may be reluctant to enroll him in special education at this late point in his educational career.

Social Isolation— In the school environment where everyone feels a bit insecure, children and teens that appear different are voted off the island. HFA students often have odd mannerisms. Isolated and alone, many of these "special needs" students are too anxious to initiate social contact. They may be stiff and rule-oriented and act like little adults, which is a deadly trait in any popularity contest. Friendship and all its nuances of reciprocity can be exhausting for the kid on the spectrum, even though he wants it more than anything else. 

As the years go by, are you seeing your child rapidly becoming reduced to a person who is surviving on:
  • anger
  • being a mistake
  • depression
  • hate
  • isolation
  • low self-esteem
  • resentment
  • sadness
  • ...and self-hate?

Have you heard your child say things like:
  • I'm a mistake.
  • I'm dumb.
  • I'm useless.
  • I hate myself.
  • I wish I was dead.
  • What is wrong with me?
  • Why was I born?

If so, then alarm bells should be going off. You know changes need to happen! Low self-esteem and behavioral problems go hand-in-hand!!!

The program "Parenting Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism" is guaranteed to (a) improve your child's behavior and self-esteem, and (b) empower parents and assist them in starting to enjoy their amazing and talented child or teen.

Parenting young people on the autism spectrum is tough!  If you don't know how, that is. In this program, you will discover how to:
  • Be your child's best advocate
  • Help her comply with rules and expectations
  • Help him learn positive ways to "work with" his differences - not to "fight" them
  • Learn the specifics of autism-related behavior and how to keep it in perspective
  • Look at mistakes as lessons - not as major set-backs
  • Re-evaluate your expectations
  • Take your power back as the parent
  • Tune-in to who your child genuinely is - not what the stereotypical child is (based on social beliefs)
  • Cope with your child's difficult and aggressive behaviors
  • Understand what is really going on inside her head
  • Help him cope better in the community and at school
  • Keep the peace at home with the rest of the family
  • Greatly improve your child's self-esteem, because "special needs" kids with low self-esteem have very little - or no - motivation to change behavior

==> If you have tried talking, screaming, punishing, pleading, and negotiating - but your Asperger's or HFA teenager still walks all over you… 

==> If you find yourself "walking on eggshells" around your child trying to avoid saying something that will set him off… 

==> If you are tired of struggling with a person who is disrespectful, obnoxious, or even abusive toward you in your own home… 

==> If you are frustrated and exhausted from constant arguing… 

Then download this 4-part eBook, and begin the healing process within 5 minutes from now!

Imagine NO MORE:
  • Begging to get your child to respond to simple requests
  • Getting pulled into pointless, never-ending arguments
  • Energy-sucking power struggles that ruin the whole evening
  • Feeling powerless and stress-out because nothing you say to your child gets through

Now, when you talk, your youngster will listen and respond appropriately. Don’t go another day being a hostage in your own house. Get back in control of your child today.


==> Instant Access - Secure Payment Via ClickBank <==


I can tell you from over 20 years of experience that "bad autism-related behavior" does NOT change without an intervention like the one I'm giving you here. Inside this program, you will get all the tools you need to improve your child's behavior. And as always, I guarantee your success - or your money back! 

The problem is that most parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum have tried very hard to get just a little respect and compliance, but with little - or no - success. And it seems the harder the parent tries, the more the child feels frustrated, which often results in tantrums, meltdowns, or non-compliance.

I often hear the following statement from parents: “I've tried everything with this child – and nothing works.” But when they download this program, they soon discover they have NOT tried everything – rather they have tried some things.

You now have the opportunity to learn "cut-to-the-chase" parenting strategies that work immediately rather than weeks or months down the road. And I guarantee your success or you get your money back – and you can keep the 4-part eBook. This is how confident I am that this information is going to work for you!

No, I’m not a miracle worker. But you don’t need a miracle! All you need is this set of proven parenting techniques – specific to the Asperger's and HFA condition – to use with your "special needs" child or teen.

If parents don’t have the techniques outlined in this program, all they are left with are typical disciplinary methods. And as you may have discovered, typical methods don't work with an HFA child.

Here is a partial list of typical parenting strategies. Parents have found these strategies to have little - or no - effect on their "special needs" child's behavior:
  • Trying to "reason" with the child
  • Having heart-to-heart talks
  • "Confronting" the child or being assertive
  • Grounding
  • Taking away privileges
  • Time-outs
  • Counseling
  • Trying to be a nicer parent
  • Trying to be a tougher parent
  • "Giving in" and letting the child have his way
  • Verbal warnings
  • Ignoring misbehavior
  • Medication
  • Having the child go live with his other parent (if parents are separated or divorced)
  • Having another family member "talk to" or attempt to "mentor" the child
  • Threatening to send the child away to a juvenile facility
  • Threatening to call the police
  • and so on...

I’m giving you the chance to break the cycle of confusion and non-compliance …to bring some peace back into your household again …and to keep your child from potential self-destruction. And you can start in just 5 minutes from now!

  1. The Comprehensive Handbook on Parenting Children on the Autism Spectrum
  2. How to Stop Meltdowns and Tantrums
  3. Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management
  4. My audio book entitled “Unraveling The Mystery Behind High-Functioning Autism”
In addition, you will receive:
  • The “Parenting Defiant Asperger's and HFA Teens” audio course
  • Access to me, Mark Hutten, M.A., as your personal parent coach (via email correspondence) 
  • My 100%, Ironclad, "Better-Than-Risk-Free" Money Back Guarantee

I say "better-than-risk-free" because this whole package is yours to keep even in the unlikely event you decide to ask for a refund. If for any reason you aren't completely satisfied with your purchase, just contact me within 60 days (that's right – two months!), and I'll give you a 100% prompt and courteous refund...  no questions asked!  I’m the one taking the risk here – not you.

I’ve learned a lot in my 20+ years of working with families affected by autism spectrum disorders. And this counseling psychologist is putting all of his best tools in this one package that can now be yours.

I trust that you’ll take a step of faith here and get started with this on-line program today. 

~ Mark Hutten, M.A.



CLICK HERE  to get started...


With this parenting toolkit, you will finally be able to manage your child's meltdowns, tantrums, attention difficulties, behavior problems at home and school, picky eating, problems completing homework, rigid thinking, rituals and obsessions, sensory sensitivities, sleep problems, social skills deficits, verbal and physical aggression ...and much more!


About the Author: 

Mark Hutten, M.A. is the executive director of Online Parent Support, LLC. He is a practicing counseling psychologist and parent-coach with more than 20 years’ experience. He has worked with hundreds of children and teenagers with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism (HFA), and presents workshops and runs training courses for parents and professionals who deal with Asperger's and HFA. Also, Mark is a prolific author of articles and eBooks on the subject.

Contact Information:

Online Parent Support, LLC
2328 N 200 E Anderson, IN 46012
Phone: 765-810-3319
Email: mbhutten@gmail.com


Testimonials :

"Mark.  I just wanted to tell you that I have purchased so many Parenting programs for help with my son with Aspergers. While they do touch on related issues, they seem to operate on the principle that these kids are from the same mold and will all respond to the same forms of discipline. Your program is the first (and I think the last) one that has actually helped my situation. Thank you!!!" ~ D.H.

"Today I spoke to my son's former counselor (whom I was asking for a referral for another counseling, which I did before I found your program). I told her, 'I think I don't need it for now,' because I found your site. I gave her your site and told her to spread the word about your program, since her job deals with parents and kids of similar problems. Thanks for all the help!" ~ A.D.

"Thanks Mark. I have been very impressed with your advice and felt I should 'pay it forward' as we feel we are getting such extreme value for our money. As such, I sent your email address to the doctor who was 'trying' to help us. Our son was so extremely disrespectful during our visit with the doctor that he was exasperated at the end and told us there was nothing more he could do and so we should consider kicking him out at 18 and prior to that, send him to a home for 'raging' teens if his behaviour continued. I also note that our doctor has a Psychology degree. I know he has many cases such as ours, so I sent him your website to pass on to other parents who would benefit from this resource. Kindest regards!" ~ S.F.

"I just started your program, but I am already seeing an amazing and positive difference in my HFA daughter. We have struggled with her behavior since she was 9 months old. I was humbled and astounded to learn that I was a big part of the problem in the way that I was reacting to her. We actually have some peace in our home and she even hugs us and says 'I love you' on a regular basis. She has  even begun apologizing for getting angry and being unreasonable. The next step is to help her bring her grades up and stay out of trouble at school. I have every confidence that we have turned a corner and I’m referring everyone I know to your program. Thank you!" ~ T.E.

"My Asperger child (high functioning) had been on medication for ADD for several years.  It never seemed to help the way we hoped. His anger was out of control and most of the walls in our home had holes from him punching them.  He was violent with his siblings and distant from us. I found your program while looking for a treatment facility to send him away to.  I knew it was not safe for his brother and sister if he stayed in our home. About 2 and a half weeks into your program we were able to take him off the medication and he continued to improve. (His doctor insisted we were making a huge mistake and that medication was the only way to help him.)  He is changing into a more confident self-controlled person thanks to your program. He used to scream at me how much he hated me.  Now when he does not get his way he will yell, 'Why are you such a good parent???' He will try to sound angry, but he is letting me know he is happier with the way things are now.  He is learning to diffuse tense situations as well.  We have both become better people.  Thank you for giving me my son back." ~ K. M.

"Nothing has helped as much as this common sense advice. We've been to counseling, read books, you name it.  We can't even put into words what we owe you.  Thank you so much for your help." ~ L.B.

"I have purchased your program ... just wanted to say how amazing your work is proving to be.  I work in psychiatry but have struggled to discipline my son and to understand his behaviour.  I have put in to practice the first week session and already it is working.  Your insight into teenagers with Asperger syndrome is amazing... it was like you had written it all for my son and I.  Thank you, a thousand times, thank you.  I’ll keep you informed of J__’s progress." ~ T.J.

"I wanted to say thank you for all your support, sound advice, and speedy email responses. You were the only person I could speak with, and you helped me enormously. I will never forget your support Mark - when I was terrorised and totally overwhelmed, you gave me the strength and support from half way around the world that allowed me to do my very best for my asperger son. God bless you for your generosity of spirit and your great work." ~ V.T.

"I am so thankful and blessed I found your website.  I am incorporating your suggestions into my life with my 15-year-old daughter on the spectrum – and things are going so much better.  We are both trying and, though she still goes to counseling, I feel like I have tools to work with her now.  Thanks a $$$million and God Bless You!" ~ J.P.

"I started using the language and skills suggested and WOW what a difference it's making already! My most defiant Aspie is being positive, kind and respectful to me. It's hard to change, but I'm convinced this is going to work for my family. I've learned that my actions have a direct effect on my child, and when I show him respect, I get it right back! Thank you so much for retraining me!!!" ~ M.H.

"I have seen such a change in myself and my son, it's amazing. Not that the problems are all gone, but simply by saying I'm not arguing and honoring that, even though I've said it before, surprised him (and me) and put an end to so many problems. It was like I was the MOM again. I guess just having the support of the program helped and knowing there were others out there with the same problems." ~ T. A.

"I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I was trawling the WWW at 02.30 for some help and found your sight and thought I would have a look. I sat in tears listening to you... it was like you had stepped into my home and seen the destruction, the tears became tears of relief that I could possibly make a change in my parenting that could help change my child's behaviour, and so I signed up. It has taken me 2 weeks to get though the first part of the program, but I have already seen tiny creaks for the better in all our behaviour." ~ E.B.

"Thank You Mark! Our prayers were answered with your program/ministry.  We are gradually reclaiming control of our family. THANK YOU for bringing love, peace and harmony to our family once and for all this time.  Yes there are still those idle complaints here and there and the occasional gnashing of teeth. But we have seen so many improvements in our special needs child since we, the parents, have changed our perspective and attitude." ~ R.W.

"I wanted to just take a minute to Thank You and to share my results thus far with my teen son (aspergers, high functioning) using your methods. We have been in counseling since February of this year and yesterday, we withdrew. In all these months, I never felt like we were making any permanent progress....just dancing around, two steps forward, one step back..etc. Since utilizing your strategies along with having our counselor as a sounding board, here are some of the things that have changed: arguments are fewer and less in intensity, a prevailing sense of peacefulness has come back into our home, my son has become more responsible, he has become more respectful towards me, I now have less "guilt" about saying "No" and less difficulty MEANING it, and there is no longer any question about who the parent is now. I can only hope and pray and continue to implement your strategies to see that he does move forward into his adult life in a more positive manner." ~ A.S.

"I am very glad to have you here working with us parents and "our" kids.  I appreciate your insight and your "heart" for these kids.  I just watched "Take the Lead", which is based on a true story about a man who made a commitment to teach ballroom dancing to inner city kids in New York who were in "detention" for the remainder of the school year.  No one else would work with them.  His message to them was simple:  have enough confidence in yourself to lead; enough trust in yourself to follow; and to always show respect for others. Very powerful stuff. There are only a few of you around, Mark. Keep doing what you love - it shows." ~ K.H.

“During these past few weeks, my husband and I have been implementing many steps, successfully. Our Aspergers son has been completing his weekly chores with not much complaint.  There haven't been any melt-downs around here, and the few irritable times we've had have been much less stressful. I hope it's still ok to email you from time to time to say hi and fill you in on our progress.” ~ T.P.

"My daughter simply couldn't understand her peers and did not socialize well at all. Unfortunately, she knew when she was being teased and became very hostile toward the teaser. Her retaliation often resulted in her having to leave the classroom and spend the rest of the morning in the "quiet room" all by herself. Fast forward... we have been working on "how to interject" and the SENSE method that you discuss in the material. These two skills alone have made just a big difference in her coping ability and level of empathy toward others." ~ M.K.

“I have fired the counselors, weaned my child off medications, and I am ready to begin the work of becoming a stronger, more focused parent. My soon to be ex-husband has also agreed to purchase the program and we intend on working it together to get our teen back on track. I thank you for your help and guidance.” ~ W.S.

"Glad I found these parenting skills. Wish I had known about it long before now. Would have saved us a lot of sleepless night." ~ B. F.

“I wanted to let you know how much I really appreciate your program. It is full of really practical and easy-to-use information to help parents with their Asperger’s and HFA children, and also the rest of the family. As a journalist, I know a thing or two about writing - and this is definitely put together and written very professionally.”  ~ I.K.

"I wish my child's teachers would read your ebooks. Since I've been working with him, he does much better at home, but school is still an issue - mostly because his teachers don't get it." ~ N.W.

“In just one week of the course, I saw huge changes in my child with Aspergers Syndrome – and even the teacher noticed. He’s a happier person due to this program. Thank you… thank you …thank you!” ~ C.D.



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, resistance to change, and much more...

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content