Visual Schedules for Aspergers Kids

Kids with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism thrive on routine and structure. As your child begins to recognize structure in his life, this may be the time to make a visual schedule to help him recognize when certain events are happening in his day. A visual schedule works better than a written schedule for obvious reasons, as your child may not be able to read and thus may not get the benefit of the visual cue.

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Rewards and Discipline for Children with HFA and AS

One of the most difficult challenges in dealing with Aspergers (High-Functioning Autism) children is determining how to reward them when they’ve done a good job and how to discipline them when they exhibit an undesirable behavior. Parents of Aspergers children are often reluctant to use any form of discipline, and the usual reward systems don’t often work for these kids.

Many Aspergers children don’t respond as well to praise or hugs as other children do. Instead, they might respond to things like a favorite treat, a favorite toy or preferred music as a way of showing them they’ve done something good.

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ASD Children and Puberty

"What's the best way to approach the topic of "the birds and the bees" with my child on the autism spectrum? He will be 12 next week."

Puberty is a difficult time for all preteens and teens, but especially for those who are developmentally challenged, such as children with ASD or High-Functioning Autism. As a parent, you need to prepare yourself - and your child - for this event.

Talking about sexuality with these children needs to be straight forward. These kids do not pick up on social cues, therefore when talking about sexuality, it is important to use concrete terms.

Use real terms to describe what you are talking about. Expect that your child will be a sexual being, and understand that with a diagnosis of ASD often comes an inability to control impulse behaviors.

It is important to be proactive when preparing yourself and your child for puberty. Teach him/her that it is okay to be a sexual being, but this is also a private time. Teach them about good touch versus bad touch so that they are not vulnerable. Let them know that you are comfortable (and work at it if you are not) with this type of conversation so that they can be comfortable too.

It is often difficult to accept this reality in our special needs children, especially when they have a developmental disorder. It is difficult to accept the reality of the expression of sexual needs in our preteens and teens, especially when it seems like it was only yesterday that they were learning to tie their shoes.

They need to understand their right to express their sexuality through masturbation, but also need to understand the important of privacy. They also need to understand that sexuality, while a social behavior, is constrained by social rules. And they need skills to enable them to behave acceptably in open society.

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Play Therapy for Younger Children with ASD

"What would be the best therapeutic approach to assist preschool children with ASD?"

All things considered, I would have to say "play therapy." Through play therapy, younger children with ASD or High-Functioning Autism are able to learn and practice new skills in safe environments:
  • Sensory motor play teaches children how to interact with their environment.
  • Through the use of physical play, including rough and tumble play, children are able to learn gross motor skills.
  • Social play provides the opportunity to learn about social relationships.

Play therapy provides a learning opportunity that cannot be matched in other circumstances. Young children with ASD need play therapy, because they do not normally interact with their environment - or others - the way they need to in order to learn. Improving play skills increases their pleasure and their motivation to play, increasing their sociability and interaction with others.

Play therapy can provide the child with an opportunity to express himself with words and actions, which can be difficult for some ASD kids age 5 and below. Sensory motor play allows the child to learn more than his verbal capacity allows, and it provides an opportunity to work through social roles, fears, and relationships.

Play therapy is used to help children manipulate the world on a smaller scale, which cannot normally be done in their environment. It can be used as a form of behavior modification, and can be used to improve emotional development, improving social skills and learning.

Social stories can also be used as part of play therapy to help improve social skills. Stories should be designed to help autistic children understand the feelings, ideas, and points of view of others, or to suggest an alternate response to a particular situation.

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Marriage Difficulties and Raising Aspergers Children

Having a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism has the potential to place a great deal of strain on a family -- and particularly on a couple. Some couples may struggle with issues of blame, how the child should be disciplined, guilt, etc.

Daily routines are a constant challenge. A special needs child often comes with additional financial costs to the family. Dealing with the school can seem like a full-time job. The time that it takes to care for a special needs child can leave other family relationships with no attention. All of this can add up to a number of problems that need to be looked at.

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Occupational Therapy for Younger Aspergers Children

One of the best resources for younger children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism is occupational therapy. Of the different types of therapy, occupational therapy is one of the more practical and easy to understand therapies a child can benefit from. Some Aspergers children lack basic skills, such as self-care, dressing themselves, eating skills and other life skills that occupational therapy can address. Often, occupational therapy uses play therapy and other kinds of skills to address areas involving fine motor and gross motor skills.

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Music Therapy for Aspergers Children

Music therapy is a great fit for ASD children because it's non-verbal (and non-threatening). It improves the child’s ability to be successful at things that are more social, such as tossing a ball to music or using sticks or cymbals to help the child modulate his or her interpretation of sound. Also, therapists can use the child’s preferred music as a reward or as a way to soothe him or her.

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Raising Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Parents' Grief and Guilt

Some parents grieve for the loss of the youngster they   imagined  they had. Moms and dads have their own particular way of dealing with the...