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Coping with Autism and Puberty


"How should I begin talking to my 12 year old autistic son (high functioning) about puberty?" 

Talking about sexuality with an HFA child needs to be straight forward. Autistic individuals 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 autism often comes an inability to control impulse behaviors. It is important to be proactive when preparing yourself and your child for puberty.

Teach him that it is okay to be a sexual being, but this is also a private time. Teach him about good touch versus bad touch so that he is not vulnerable. Let him know that you are comfortable (and work at it if you are not) with this type of conversation so that he can be comfortable too.

Sometimes it's difficult to accept this reality (i.e., that they are sexual beings) in our children, especially when they have a developmental challenge. Nonetheless, they need to understand their right to express their sexuality in appropriate ways, but they also need to understand the important of privacy. They 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.




Siblings of Aspergers Children

"I would like some tips on how to teach a younger sibling (age 3, not in school yet due to rural location) not to pick up unwanted behaviours from his Asperger's brother."

You might be concerned that your 3-year-old will pick up unwanted behaviours because he might have Asperger’s, also. Asperger’s does, indeed, have a genetic component.

New research in the area of Asperger’s has shown that toddler siblings of Asperger's children are more likely to exhibit the same atypical behaviours as their brothers and sisters with the Asperger's, even when they don’t eventually develop the disorder. Andy Shih, PhD, of the Baby Sibling Research Consortium, states that this increases the importance of careful monitoring of high-risk siblings of children with Asperger’s for any signs of a disorder. If one should occur, you are well-situated for early intervention. If atypical behaviours occur, but there is no Asperger’s, you will feel relief at knowing that your second child does not have it.

If you have a child with Asperger’s, the odds are 50 to 100 times greater that your second child will be diagnosed with Asperger’s. At the age of three, it might be difficult to tell if the child has Asperger’s. 

Ask yourself the following:
  • Does your younger son have age-appropriate communication skills?
  • Does he follow his brother’s exact behaviours?
  • Is he overreacting to sensory stimuli (e.g., actions, lights, sounds)? 
  • Does he cover his eyes or ears to avoid sensory stimuli?

If you answered “no” to these questions, your son is probably just imitating his older brother, and that is very common with siblings. He might see his older brother as a role model, or he sees his brother getting a lot of attention for these behaviours, and he is imitating him to get some of the attention.

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, consider having a professional, such as an Intervention Specialist or special education teacher, observe your three-year-old when he interacts with his brother, and when he is alone. You might be thinking of waiting to see if your son outgrows these behaviours; however, if he does have Asperger’s, you should begin early intervention. Make sure that the professional you consult is experienced in assessing autism spectrum disorders, and that his experience specifically includes Asperger’s Syndrome.

Your awareness of the sibling relationship, along with the help of a professional, will give you information and assistance to help with your three-year-old, if he, too, is diagnosed with Asperger’s. Stay in touch with the professional involved so that you can provide a comprehensive level of care for both your children.

The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Aspergers Syndrome

Does My Student Have HFA?

“I’m a teacher and I think one of my students may have high functioning autism. What things should I look for in determining whether or not this child may have the disorder? Also, is it too early to approach the parents about my concern?”

Click here for the answer...

Aspergers: Quick Facts

"Would you have a simple summary, kind of a snapshot, that describes the most relevant aspects of AS that I can give my Aspie son's teacher so that she can get a basic understanding of this disorder without having to read a book on it?"

Sure! Just copy and paste the quick facts below, and give it to the teacher...

Aspergers is:
  • a developmental disorder, not a disease or a form of genius
  • a form of autism that affects language less, but does present with difficulties in appropriate speech and communicative development
  • a form of autism, which affects the way a child relates to others
  • a highly functional form of autism
  • a neurobiological syndrome named for a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger, who published a paper in 1944 describing the autistic-like condition
  • a type of autism, which leads to difficulties in reading non-verbal cues
  • characterized by social interaction difficulties and impairments related to a restricted, repetitive, stereotype behavior
  • not the result of "bad parenting"
  • often confused with ADD and ADHD
  • not classified as a learning disability, but it is a disorder that impacts learning
     
Aspergers Treatment:
  • can help children learn how to interact more successfully with their peers
  • focuses on the three main symptoms: poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness
  • involves medication for co-existing conditions, cognitive behavioral therapy, and social skills training
  • is geared toward improving communication, social skills, and behavior management
  • is not a cure, but there are a number of different interventions that have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms associated with Aspergers
  • mainly helps to build on the child’s interests, teaches the task as a series of simple steps, and offers a predictable schedule
  • requires an interdisciplinary approach (i.e., speech pathologists, social workers, psychologists and developmental pediatricians all may be involved in treatment)
  • should be tailored to meet individual needs
  • strives to improve the child's abilities to interact with other people and thus to function effectively in society and be self-sufficient
  • varies according to the practitioner, because some therapists think Aspergers is the same as high functioning autism, while others think it’s more like a nonverbal learning disability
  • is a complex process that involves spending time with the child, gathering background information from parents and teachers, directly testing the child, and integrating information into a comprehensive picture

Facts as reported by children and teens with Aspergers:
  • To talk to a person with Aspergers may be like talking to a college professor.
  • Having Aspergers is like being on a different planet. 
  • Sometimes having Aspergers is really annoying because, for example, at school, I get special treatment or other people pick on me because I'm weird or different.

Note: Aspergers is now referred to as "high-functioning autism."

Teaching Students with Aspergers 


 COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... I agree my 8 year old son has aspergers and we just stayed in constant communication. With the teacher, principal and assistant principal. They all were wonderful with my son. We take each day as it comes. The one problem we have is what sets him off today Maynor set him off tomorrow
•    Anonymous said... I would create a snapshot on YOUR child. The problem with a book or a checklist is that it may or may not apply to your son. That is who the teacher should be concerned with. Any prior experience with or knowledge of children with autism should be thrown out the window because every child is so unique.
•    Anonymous said... They are sensitive, they can't read facial expressions so they cannot predict what may happen so any changes need earliest notification to reduce stres, fear and the urge to run.
•    Anonymous said... They understand express their thoughts and emotions but will not necessarily notice, be bothered by or understand yours / others. This is a skill that is not innate to them but can be learned. Oh yes and they are amazing.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

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

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to read the full article...

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

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

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content