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Asperger's Adults and Marriage/Parenting Difficulties

"Is it common for a 'neurotypical' woman to be resentful toward her husband AND father in the case where both have Asperger's? I would say they are 'emotionally unavailable'. My son was recently diagnosed with high functioning autism, and it dawned on me that both my husband and father are the same way in many respects! So now I am really having a hard time swallowing this. I feel like the world has just crashed down on top of me."

You're not alone. Being partnered to an individual with Asperger’s (AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) comes with its own set of difficulties. Of primary concern is the lack of intimacy and reciprocation of emotion. This is the most common reason for marriage breakdown associated with AS and HFA. This neurological disorder makes it extremely difficult for the AS/HFA man or woman to interact emotionally in an appropriate way with others.

In a marriage situation, the so-called "neurotypical" partner may be content with doing the bulk of the emotional work of the relationship, particularly if that person is a woman. However, once kids arrive, further difficulties can arise as the AS/HFA mom or dad can’t effectively engage with their youngster, and the other parent can observe feelings of distress in the growing boy or girl as little empathy is displayed towards that youngster. When the partner expresses frustration at this lack of affection and intimacy, the AS/HFA individual is often puzzled by the outburst as understanding is absent. It is easy to see how arguments and unhappiness result. It is not surprising that around 80% of such marriages end in divorce.

For partners and family members of an AS/HFA man or woman, counseling can help in learning to overcome feelings of anger, hurt, disappointment, and depression. Joining a support group can also assist on overcoming the feelings of isolation associated with being a relative of an AS/HFA person.

For the AS/HFA individual himself, counseling is of some assistance, but social skills training will better equip the individual in dealing with others, whether they are partners, kids, or fellow employees. Social skills training involves (a) teaching the person to recognize facial expressions and associate them with certain emotions, (b) learning body language skills and being able to interpret what is being communicated, and (c) learning to verbally interact with others at a more functioning level.

This type of training is a learned procedure, as it does not come naturally to the person with AS or HFA. However in doing so, it makes for easier social interaction, less misunderstanding and social isolation. If AS and HFA adults desire better relationships, they must also be willing to ask for - and act on - advice in situations in which they know they find difficult to negotiate. The attitude of both partners is crucial for the successful learning process to occur. It requires hard work and much patience for partners and family members, and a willingness to accept constructive criticism on the part of the AS/HFA person to smooth out the rough edges of these relationships. But, like any relationship, willingness on both sides can certainly lead to improved daily interactions.

An autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong developmental disorder, and mainly manifests in the inability to successfully relate emotionally to others during everyday interactions. There exists a lack of awareness in interpreting social cues (a skill that most of us take for granted). Given that inability, it can be extremely difficult for the family and friends of a person with AS or HFA to cope with many of the behavior patterns typically exhibited.

Since AS and HFA are relatively recent classified disorders, an adult's diagnosis may occur after the diagnosis of his or her youngster or grandchild. When this occurs, family members often then relate the behaviors of the newly-diagnosed youngster to that of the lifelong behavior patterns of a parent. This "Ah-ha" moment is often accompanied by relief on the part of the parent, partner, or youngster of an AS/HFA parent, but with it comes grief when the realization hits home that there is little likelihood of gross changes in the AS/HFA individual. For example, the daughter whose son is diagnosed with AS or HFA may then realize that her dad had the same set of symptoms, and the reason for her father's apparent disconnectedness, coldness, and inability to empathize with her suddenly becomes crystal clear.

Coping with a family member with AS or HFA can be frustrating and demoralizing, particularly with an individual who is undiagnosed. There can be a lot of misunderstanding by the youngster of a mom or dad with AS or HFA, and certainly psychological damage can occur. Once an effective diagnosis is made, at least there is some understanding for other family members as to why the AS/HFA person behaves the way that he or she does. 

One of my clients had a father-in-law who exhibited all the classic symptoms of AS. Previous to the father-in-law's diagnosis, this distressed client had suffered enormously at the hands of this man, as had her husband and kids. She had called him "The Hologram." Her explanation was that "he looks like a normal human being, and he's smart and has a good job, but there's just nothing there." Hence the name she had dubbed her father-in-law in order to cope with the stress that family get-togethers inevitably brought.

The term "hologram" was an unwittingly apt description of her father-in-law. There was no intimacy, no understanding, no empathy, just a pragmatic approach to life that didn’t take into account the emotions of the people he dealt with. Nor was he able to adapt himself to the changing needs of different individuals or situations. The diagnosis of this man's grandchild led to a realization by his own kids as to why their father was the way he was. It answered a lot of questions, and gave these kids some closure regarding the childhood hurts they had experienced due to their father’s inability to relate to them.

When a partner is diagnosed with AS or HFA as a result of a youngster within the family being diagnosed, it can come as a "double whammy" to the family. This is particularly the case when the youngster and his or her parent are diagnosed at the same time, since the “neurotypical” (i.e., the person without AS) is now in the position of dealing with two AS family members in the one home.

Similarly, the diagnosis of a youngster may make the mother or father worry that he or she has the disorder too. This can also cause intense personal suffering for the child since finding out that one's mom or dad has AS opens as many wounds as it does explanations. 

The problems in dealing with AS/HFA grown-ups can be numerous, and include:
  • A sense of frustration that you can’t "get through" to this person
  • A sense of hopelessness that the person doesn't love you
  • Concerns over whether to stay in the relationship
  • Depression related to the knowledge that the individual won't get better
  • Difficulties accepting that the partner has the condition
  • Failure to have your own needs met
  • Failure to understand why this person can’t relate to you in a "normal" manner
  • Feeling overly responsible for this person
  • Feeling the need to constantly explain his or her inappropriate behaviors and comments to others, along with feelings of trepidation due to the effect of this constant vigilance.
  • Lack of emotional support from family and friends who don’t understand the condition
  • Lack of intimacy in the relationship

AS and HFA make for difficulties in understanding the emotions of others, as well as interpreting subtle communication skills (e.g., eye contact, facial expressions, body language). This often leads to the AS or HFA individual being labeled as rude, uncaring, cold, and unfeeling. While it is natural for those who interact with him or her to feel this way, it is unfair! This is because an autism spectrum disorder is a genetic, neurological condition which renders the AS/HFA person mentally unable to readily understand and interpret the emotional states of others.

One of the problems associated with the individual on the spectrum is the lack of accurate diagnosis. Because AS is a disorder that has only been recognized and singled-out from other autistic spectrum disorders in the last decade or so, to date there has been little information about the behaviors of grown-ups with this disorder. As kids, these grown-ups would have stood out among their peers as being "unusual," but at the time, there was no accurate diagnosis available. Thus, there are still many AS and HFA men and women in the community who remain undiagnosed.

The other problem is that, even when diagnosis occurs, some people with AS or HFA may refuse to go into therapy or accept available assistance, because they don’t believe that they have a problem. One of my client's who had a father with the disorder was relieved to finally discover the reason for her father's emotional aloofness, but was devastated when that same father refused to go to counseling. He simply asserted, "There's nothing wrong with me!"

In this case, there was no denial involved on the part of the father. He simply couldn't understand his daughter’s pain, her feelings of rejection, or her desire for a real "father-daughter" relationship. None of it made any "sense" to him. In addition, his interactions with the family and in-laws were fraught with difficulties. Eventually, this daughter decided to limit interaction with her father, because it caused too much stress in the family.

In other cases, people with AS or HFA may be genuinely shocked when told that their actions are hurtful or inappropriate. However, the behavior is likely to be repeated unless there is some form of intervention, and the affected individuals genuinely desire to change.

Some people with AS or HFA can maintain ongoing relationships; however, due to their neurological inability to effectively communicate on an emotional level, there are numerous difficulties. Even dating can prove to be a problem, as the subtle "language of love" which operates during the courtship phase is often a mystery to the AS/HFA person. This can apply to even the most academically gifted man or women. 

Recent research into the sexual behaviors of grown-ups with AS or HFA indicate that they have similar sex drives as the general population, but seldom possess the social skills to deal with the high level of intimacy required for such a relationship. In fact, research suggests that the divorce rate for couples in which one partner has AS or HFA is around 80%.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA


Comment:


My boyfriend (who I love dearly) and I have really been struggling ever since early March when we had a pregnancy scare. Neither of us has ever had a pregnancy scare before. We have both generally been very careful about protection with previous partners and have never faced unplanned pregnancy before with past partners. He has Asperger's. I am 35. He is 34. I have a son and a daughter, aged 3.5 and nearly 2 from a previous marriage. When I told him I thought I may be pregnant..I told him I wouldn't know for sure till I missed a period and was able to take an accurate pregnancy test..but even just hearing that it was possible he vomited a couple times and became consumed with anxiety. Since then, I did get a positive pregnancy result on a test. But when we re-tested a couple days later, it was negative. 

He was watching me pee in a cup and inserting multiple tests (6 or 7 total) into the urine himself, timing the test with a stopwatch, having me test at different intervals...Anyways, we only got negative results when we marathon tested together a couple days after the initial positive result. Turns out, I had a natural expulsion of the fertilized egg, embryo..a naturally occurring, very early term abortion. I began bleeding out on a Sunday when I was at his house. And I told him that I thought I had my period and that it seemed everything was going to be all right. I took a pregnancy test on Friday at home by myself to confirm that I was not pregnant. The test came back positive because there was still pregnancy hormone in me. The expulsion bleeding had finished on Thursday and I was taking the test the next day, Friday. When he and I tested on Sunday multiple times, all night long, at his insistence, we only got negatives. He has been so stressed out from the initial moment he knew I might be pregnant. He has been so anxious and so terrified. 

He's been consumed by the stress. He couldn't work for 2-3 weeks. He is an electrical engineer who has been at his job for 10 years. He couldn't function well at work and was catching negative, watchful attention from supervisors. That is better now that nearly 3 months have passed. He was so anxious he couldn't eat hardly anything for 2-2.5 weeks without terrible indigestion. He won't sit next to me. He doesn't want to touch me or for me to touch him. For a while he would give me a kiss as we said bye, or a hug....but very often no contact at all unless I am sort of asking for a kiss, or a hug. Absolutely no sex or anything vaguely sexual since the beginning of March. But he tells me he feels incredibly close to me like he could tell me anything. That he feels like we have become incredibly close over the past couple months. 

He had been an avowed atheist since I met him in October 2011. The night we did the marathon pregnancy testing I said something to him about God looking out for us as we got only negative test results. He said he also felt the presence of God strongly and asked me to kneel and pray with him. We kneeled and I prayed a prayer of thanks and gratitude, and asked God to guide us and support us in having the strength, wisdom, knowledge, to follow His will and act accordingly. My boyfriend sobbed much of that night. He was so shook up by everything. He has since told me that he has never felt closer to another human being ever in his entire life than when he and I kneeled together. He talks about how remarkable it was that he an avowed atheist asked me to kneel and pray with him. He says he is a person who does not pray and he really wanted to pray with me that night. He is very clear even now that he felt the hand of God with us, between us, helping us that night. I felt God's presence too. My boyfriend says that sometimes when I speak to him about God's love, reassuring him that God loves him, has always loved him, is not personally hurt by my boyfriend's long-term rejection of religion, he says that God is speaking through me to him. 

He talks about how he was so far from God for so long, but that he can feel God in his life again particularly when I talk to him about God, when I prayed with him. I love my boyfriend dearly. I want us to make it. Maybe we just need to pray together more regularly? I will accept what God has in store for us. But you seem to have a special, unique understanding of how those of us who love individuals with Asperger's really struggle to understand, be supportive, develop and maintain healthy relationships with the partners we love and dedicate ourselves to. Do you have any suggestions regarding how my boyfriend and I can get over the intense stress he still feels about the pregnancy scare? Sometimes I think we will just become a more God-fearing conservative couple and one day get married and have sex again then :) He says that is definitely a possibility. He has wanted so much to get over his anxiety and fear about being around me. He has been so frustrated that he couldn't seem to get past it. He has said that he wants nothing more than for us to be able to go back to being as happy and relaxed, as we were before the scare. 

He said he wants to feel comfortable with me again. Sometime in April, he was driving home from my house which is 30 minutes from his house. He was not in the best shape to drive but didn't listen to me about waiting. He went for a walk with me and then insisted it was time to go, he had to go, and just took off. I couldn't stop him. I worry about him so much when he drives like that. I was texting him to ask him to let me know when he got home safe. He crashed his car that night. He was not hurt. No one was hurt. He basically just didn't make a turn and went off the road and wrecked the car. He had long since been saying he wanted to get a new car so the damage to the car was not terribly upsetting to him. But the ensuing police and insurance investigations were very stressful for him. He was really freaked out that I had texted asking him if he was all right, if he had got home safe. So, he called me the next morning told me about the accident, and told me not to text him anymore about anything and that he would call me, we could call each other as a way of keeping in touch. Until then, we had relied heavily on texting as he explained early on that he was not good on the phone and often found it too much to go through a phone conversation at the end of a long day. 

He has an unbelievable chock full activity schedule that frequently includes 2 or even 3 evening activities after a full day at work. His weekends are packed with 40 mile bike rides, 20 mile runs, all kinds of stuff. Anyways, now we speak on the phone very regularly, at least every other day, and often speak for 2, 3, 4 hours at a time. For a while he was calling me every day as he left work. Then he said he started feeling differently about me and wasn't sure he was feeling it anymore, and had stopped calling every day. He was breaking up with me I thought. But in the same conversation he told me he had come to feel incredibly close to me over the past couple months, that we get along incredibly well, that he feels that God speaks to him through me, that God is reaching out to him through me. He was sobbing nearly hysterically during this conversation where he tired to break up with me, but didn't in the end. I was calm and reassuring and told him I was not worried because I had faith that it would all work out according to God's will and plan for us in the end. I told him I would always love him and be there for him in a friend capacity if he couldn't feel comfortable dating me right now, or ever again. Please help us understand how to work through my love's residual stress about the pregnancy scare, the car accident, his terror of having a kid before he's ready. 

 I also told him that I considered that he had gotten off relatively unscathed with the car accident relative to the risks he had taken repeatedly with driving. I told him I was very glad that he seemed to have learned an important lesson about driving safely, a lesson that was not to be taken lightly. He agreed that the car accident and the related lesson were also evidence of God actively present in his life, taking an interest in him, trying to help him learn and be better. Thank you for any insights, advice, suggestions, you can offer. It is really hard sometimes. But I do trust God and I do believe He is here with us always as we strive to be better as individuals and hopefully continue on as a couple. There is something about you, your website, your e-book, your voice on your phone voicemail prompt, the tone of your email. I believe you really want to help people with Asperger's and their partners. I feel that you are called in your heart to do this work. I feel comfortable reaching out to you for help and support. Thank you for being there for people like us who struggle. 


Response: 

RE: Do you have any suggestions regarding how my boyfriend and I can get over the intense stress he still feels about the pregnancy scare? 

Your boyfriend can greatly benefit by openly giving and receiving support and by recognizing and sharing his feelings with you, with your respective families, and with a therapist. When men share their feelings, it helps deepen the relationship, reduce stress, and promote health for all concerned. You should know, however, that sharing feelings doesn't always go as planned. Just as you experienced a wealth of conflicting emotions, it's normal for your boyfriend's feelings to cover a broad range—from feeling thrilled, loving, and tender to devastation and shock. He may be curious about what your child could be like, or he may believe he is totally unprepared for fatherhood. He may feel uncertain about your relationship, or he may be unsure he wants the relationship to continue. He may feel angry, trapped, or sad, believing the pregnancy will interfere with the things he believes to be important. 

Good luck in any event, Mark 

Follow-up to response: 

Thank you Mark. Talking about it is the one thing he has completely refused to do. He will not permit me to bring up anything related to the pregnancy scare or how it was resolved. He says it is so painful for him to even begin thinking about those events that he has to talk about it he won't be able to endure the pain and won't be able to be around me anymore. In the weeks after the scare he was telling me things like it was painful for him just to be in my company at all because being near me evoked all his painful, terrified, anxious, sick feelings about the pregnancy scare and how we didn't agree about how to deal with it. He pushed incredibly hard for abortion. 

I don't believe in abortion in my personal life. I think every woman should be able to choose for herself. But it's not something I personally feel right about doing.Our disagreement over abortion became a moot point when the pregnancy aborted itself. Even yesterday, the issue of abortion came up in a political discussion we were having and he instantly told me he didn't want to talk about that subject. He gets upset at any reminder of the pregnancy or how it ended. Before we got all the negative pregnancy test results, he was pushing me really, really hard to have an abortion. I told him that I didn't believe in abortion and that I would raise the kid on my own rather than do that. He said terrible things like he would have absolutely no involvement in the child's life and that I was going to have to take him to court to get child support or any financial help. He said it would ruin his life to have a kid at that juncture. He said his dreams were being ruined. That he had dreamed that one day he'd have a normal sort of life with a blissful wedding day, and have a house with a white picket fence, before any children came along. He said his conservative parents and brothers would disown him and that he would lose his life insurance policy his parents have for him. 

 He said he had had high hopes for the relationship with me until this happened. I talked about having a loving, supportive community of friends and that somehow I would make it with the baby and my friends's support even if he abandoned us. He said he wouldn't continue to see me if I kept the baby and that he had been among those many who love me until very recently, i.e. hearing about the potential pregnancy. He never once asked me how I felt about anything. He bullied me about getting an abortion and getting rid of this problem for him until I collapsed in tears devastated. I told him I was going home because nothing was being accomplished and that if I was indeed pregnant, I didn't want the fetus to endure all this stress. He begged and pleaded for me not to leave him alone and then we did a marathon of pregnancy tests. He insisted on driving to walmart at least 3 times through out the night to get more tests. 

 The tests came back negative and we thought God was giving us another chance to do things right together, come back closer to Him. That's what I thought. I think my boyfriend kind of saw it as God was letting him off the hook from a responsibility, a life development he absolutely wasn't ready for. That's how he described it last week during the 4.5 hour conversation when he was trying to break up with me, but then ended up telling me how close he felt to me, sobbing for hours, asking me what I wanted to have happen with us, with our relationship, asking me how I felt about him. 

When he was breaking up with me, he began by saying stuff like he felt that I wasn't really into him anymore either, that I wasn't feeling it either. At times, I feel resentful and mad that he was so unsupportive of me during what was also a very difficult time for me. I also sometimes feel resentful that he won't touch me even to show affection if not have sex. Though I know that the lack of physical and verbal affection is closely tied to the Asperger's even separate from all the stress and anxiety he is feeling right now. There were moments when I was utterly relieved the pregnancy was lost as I recalled how completely unwilling he was to be supportive of me in any way if I chose to keep the kid. I remember thinking and saying that I was relieved that I was not going to have to co-parent with someone so unwilling, disinterested, unsupportive. I knew he's be stressed but I never imagined he's react as negatively as he did, the initial night and for months following. After reading your e-book, I realized that it may not be a good idea at all to plan on starting a family ever with a partner with Asperger's. In the weeks that followed the initial scare, he would say things to me like, "We will do that (get pregnant) again when you are ready." At this point, I had explained at length that I absolutely didn't feel ready to have another kid, and wasn't at all ready to take that step with him either. 

I was just trying to accept responsibility for the mistake we made and care for the kid alone, or with his help. I always said he was under no obligation to stay with me, that we could co-parent without being a couple if he (we) were too stressed by the early and unexpected pregnancy to be able to remain together as a couple. Last night, he told me over the course of our second long phone conversation that night, that he had recently realized that he may never want to be a dad, that he might not want kids. He said he previously had imagined he would or should one day have kids because that seems to be what people do, how it goes for everyone. I told him that that was totally fine and that I don't believe everyone needs to have kids. I told him I think it's important for people to recognize and be honest with themselves and others if that's really not something they want in their lives, and that that's totally fine. I also said I already have 2 kids and therefore am not longing for kids as I might be if I didn't have any. 

He underscored the fact that it was really great that I already have kids, since that was something that was important to me in my life. He said it is really great that I already have 2 kids, even though I have struggled a lot since the divorce with my kids being very little, because it is very possible I may never have an opportunity to have more children. Thank you so much for your advice. I have read your last email over several times already so I can assimiliate it into my understanding of things and remember what you said. 


MORE COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... I am experiencing everything in this article. When my daughter was diagnosed and I learned more about it I too had that moment when I looked at my husband and understood why he was the way he was.
•    Anonymous said... I found out last year that my son has Asperger's, and he was 11. Like Pamela said it was like a lightning bolt hit me, and all the pieces came together. I see it in other family members, but only concentrate on my son. I can't force others to accept it, address it or admit they have many of the same issues, but I can help him adjust and understand the how and why's. Once you bring it to the part that matters, the rest isn't so devastating to our peace of mind.
•    Anonymous said... I had a similar experience. I advocated for my son and as a result, he is doing amazingly well now, but it's been a long hard road and his father has never accepted the diagnosis nor did he see the similarities in himself. We spit up six years ago because of it, but he still fights me each time I try to get his support on helping our son. Sometimes, there are no answers and you just have to do what you can and hope the other person at least stays out of the way.
•    Anonymous said... I have such compassion for you. My son was diagnosed at age 5 and the lightbulb went off. Suddenly, my husbands fathers family's quirky behavior made sense. It's normal for you to want to be angry but try and understand that ultimately this will help you or your family. It has been five years for us. These kids are a beautiful amazing gift. You will adjust and cope and appreciate the wonderful silver linings that come with this diagnosis. Hugs.....
•    Anonymous said... I will read the article after saying this-yes I do feel resentful towards my husband at the moment since the penny dropped for him about AS (long after me not so strangely). I think it was the final bit in the puzzle and now I can finally grieve for all the unhappy years of bewilderment while he seemed blissfully happy if a little confused at times. It has been a couple of weeks and I am finally feeling like I can bear him around now but I think it must be a normal part of the grieving process? What I do resent is him saying he doesn't know what to do when I ask him if he will seek a formal diagnosis and help. I have struggled through 32 years of unhappiness and self doubt and think he could make some effort now. I am burnt out and feel old and ugly fro years of what amounts to albeit unwitting abuse from him and I suppose it is knowing where to direct the anger since it cannot be at him...
•    Anonymous said... If you still have an aspie husband as well as a special needs child, you are a very strong person. My EX husband refuses to accept our son's diagnosis and has been very obstructive toward his needs. Of course he also doesn't recognize his own disability 'cause that would force him to deal with our son's. Good luck to you and stay centered!
•    Anonymous said... My husband gets frustrated with me and often will walk away with comments of "Stupid Aspergers!" and "Of course you wouldn't get it, always your Aspergers!" and I feel his frustration because I can't imagine no "solution" to the way I am. The more emotional he gets, the less I get and the more I shut down because I literally can not understand him when he is that emotional and thhe further we grow apart. We will eventually get past the barrier when we both are calm, but getting to that point causes a lot of drama and stress on both of us. So yes, I can understand that frustration because you always hope that the issues can be worked out and have that hope that it will all get better, but with Aspergers... some things just are what they are and expectations needs to be real when it comes to what your are going to get out of those people. But, if you fell in love with your husband for who he is and love your father for who he is, those people have not changed, just your understanding about them. (That's how I feel about it anyway, obviously this is an article, but if anyone feels the same way, that's what I would say to them)
•    Anonymous said... My son was diagnosed at 9 then I started looking at my hubby. The apple doesn't fall far. You are not alone. I felt comfort that a lot of things that bothered me were explained.
•    Anonymous said... Praying for this person because I too have to deal with this and it is very hard
•    Anonymous said... There's a great book called "Alone Together" about living with an aspie partner. It's tough sometimes and very common to identify all the others in your family with Aspergers. It's ok to grieve!
•    Anonymous said... This past year..I found out my son who is 9 is an Aspie, my daughter 11 who as pdd..and I was reading some books..I realized that too ... I was probably married to an Aspie, and it explained some family members as well...you will cry ..you will get frustrated...but remember there are really great qualities..they are extremely LOYAL..very SMART..and at the end of the day.. you and I was given this GIFT. Hugs to you!!
•    Anonymous said... We were all mad at each other before; now the only difference is we know why.
•    Anonymous said... When the Dr. told us that our son has Aspergers, the first thing my husband said was that he had often wondered if he did too. When I read the book, "Look Me in the Eye" I felt like I was reading a history book of my husband's life. It was so enlightening and it helped me understand so much about our relationship. So, like you I have been emotionally alone. But I've found that I can discuss the issues in an intellectual way at least. It's not easy but taking one step and one day at a time helps. If it weren't for my faith and trust in The Lord, I'd never manage. Just know that you're not alone.
•    Anonymous said... You're not along, its okay to grieve and part of the grieving process is anger. Its a rough road, especially at first, but it can be worked with. Just as I do not give up on my son, I do not give up on my husband. My husbands family appears to all be ASD as well, and that gives me the belief my son will be fine too - better even, because we acknowledge ASD in my son, and get him the help and support he needs (whereas my husband and his family deny ASD). Grieve, breath.... it will all be okay.

Please post your comment below…

Natural Treatment for Asperger’s Syndrome?

"What supplements, if any, would be helpful for children (and even adults for that matter) on the autism spectrum?"

Kids with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism commonly have fluctuating moods throughout the day as their emotional development is still in its early stages. Moods may differ from moment to moment based on the youngster’s feelings and the trials of daily life. Events that may seem small and insignificant to adults, may become huge calamities for young minds and this can sometimes cause chaos and distress in the family. Although these ‘childish storms’ may soon blow over, they can come and go many times in the average day – depending on the age and disposition of the youngster.

From worries over imaginary monsters to fretting over the opinion of other kids at school, the moods of both Aspergers kids and teens can be commonly affected by many seemingly normal events, causing mood swings and concern.

On the whole, adults have normally learned how to weather these storms as their nervous systems and emotional development has matured. However, even for adults, routine ‘ups and downs’ may occur as part of daily living and can sometimes become difficult to manage.

Natural remedies have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to gently and safely support the healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as to encourage normal and efficient balance of emotion and a soothed state.

There are now many published clinical studies demonstrating the ability of a range of herbs to support the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system and maintain balanced mood, feelings of well-being and promote emotional health.

MindSoothe Jr.™ is an herbal remedy especially for Aspergers kids and formulated by a Clinical Psychologist to support balanced mood and feelings of well-being. Regular use promotes the health of the brain and nervous system, helping to support healthy production of essential brain hormones and chemicals related to nervous system health and emotional well-being, thereby helping to maintain balanced mood and optimum performance.

MindSoothe ™ is a 100% safe, non-addictive, natural herbal remedy that has been especially formulated by a Clinical Psychologist for adults and teens, and comes in a compact capsule form, making it easy to take. MindSoothe can be used to safely maintain emotional health, balanced, mood and harmony in the brain and nervous system, without harmful side effects.

Sometimes erratic, unpredictable impulsive behavior can escalate to frenetic, flustered, and wild outbursts in even the most normal and even tempered youngster.

Aspergers kids may commonly resort to yelling and kicking - even biting - in order to express their feelings and get what they want. This behavior may become increasingly difficult for parents to manage and can cause numerous disruptions to the family’s daily routine. These bursts of childhood temper tantrums are most common during the pre-school years, but may occur from time to time in older Aspergers kids and even adults if they occasionally lose their tempers – which can happen to all of us from time to time.

Natural remedies can help to support a balanced demeanor and homeopathic and herbal remedies are of great benefit in helping to restore calm and a positive demeanor after a common emotional episode. Natural remedies have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to support the healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system.

Tula Tantrum Tamer ™ is a registered homeopathic remedy which helps Aspergers kids to maintain balanced mood, calm demeanor and reasonable attitude by providing a sound platform to support emotional peace and stability. As a result, Tula Tantrum Tamer can make all the difference to a youngster who is prone to tantrums and emotional storminess.

PureCalm™ is a 100% safe, non-addictive herbal remedy that has been specially formulated by a Clinical Psychologist for adults and Aspergers kids. PureCalm can especially benefit those individuals needing support for balanced mood and to assist with common nervous tension.

Our brain is like a virtual filing cabinet where the completed tasks, acquired information, and experiences are all processed and then stored - nothing is lost, instead we sometimes need to just take a little more effort to retrieve. Healthy brain functioning, including concentration and focus, are essential if we are to successfully complete our everyday tasks.

Natural remedies have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to support the healthy functioning of the brain and nervous system, helping to maintain efficient concentration and memory functioning.

Focus Formula ™ is a 100% safe, non-addictive, natural, herbal remedy. Formulated by a Clinical Psychologist for both Aspergers kids and adults, Focus Formula has been used for many years to safely maintain health and systemic balance in the brain and nervous system. Focus Formula contains a selection of herbs known for their supportive function in maintaining brain, nervous system and circulatory health, and well-being.

BrightSpark ™ is a safe, non-addictive, registered homeopathic remedy containing 100% homeopathic ingredients especially selected by a clinical psychologist. BrightSpark will help keep your youngster alert while at the same time preventing common restlessness, thereby helping Aspergers kids to concentrate and balance moods. BrightSpark can also be especially effective for Aspergers kids who tend to "act out" or for those who have routine difficulties controlling their tempers or getting along with other Aspergers kids.

A regular and peaceful night’s sleep is a useful indicator of overall physical and emotional health. Healthy sleep patterns are a crucial aspect of a youngster’s development. Aspergers kids commonly resist going to bed – especially when their minds are busy and they can think of a million more exciting things to do! However, Aspergers kids who routinely get away with late bed times may struggle to cope the next day – especially at school – and may become ratty and difficult.

A good night’s sleep is just as important for adults who need to replenish their resources after a demanding day of work and family responsibilities. For many adults, a natural sleep tonic can make all the difference to supporting regular sleeping patterns.

Serenite Jr. ™ is a safe and effective herbal remedy specially formulated by a Clinical Psychologist to promote junior night time harmony and to assist parents in their task of naturally settling fussy little ones.

SerenitePlus ™ is a herbal formula specially formulated by a Clinical Psychologist for teenagers and adults. The natural ingredients are chosen for their relaxing and calming properties to assist with occasional routine sleeplessness and to relax and wind down at night.

For the Brain and Nervous System—

For Aspergers kids:

BrightSpark is a registered homeopathic formula used to reduce routine impulsive, restless and erratic behavior – so helping your youngster to listen more calmly, carefully, and attentively.

Focus Formula is used to support brain health and maintain a healthy supply of blood and nutrients to the brain – thereby supporting the brain’s functions of concentration, memory and healthy mental focus, while promoting corresponding health in the nervous system.

MindSoothe Jr. is used to maintain emotional balance, a reasonable attitude and feelings of well-being in Aspergers kids, also supporting the balance of neurotransmitters produced in the brain like dopamine and serotonin, both linked to the maintenance of balanced mood.

PureCalm is an excellent on the spot remedy for nervous system support - widely used to lessen common feelings of being flustered, bothered or on-edge, and to soothe the nerves.

Serenite Jr. is used to support healthy sleep patterns in babies over 6 months and Aspergers kids up to 12 years old.

Tula TamtrumTamer is a registered homeopathic remedy used to reduce the frequency and strength of common childhood tantrums, calm and soothe fiery tempers, while promoting a balanced mood and reasonable attitude.

For Aspergers adults:

SerenitePlus is a herbal formula specially formulated by a Clinical Psychologist for teenagers and adults. The natural ingredients are chosen for their relaxing and calming properties to assist with occasional routine sleeplessness and to relax and wind down at night.

PureCalm is an excellent on-the-spot remedy for nervous system support - widely used to lessen common feelings of being flustered, bothered or on-edge, and to soothe the nerves.

MindSoothe is used to support emotional well-being and stability , lessen general feelings of the blues, support a healthy motivated attitude, a well-adjusted outlook and positive temperament, as well as support healthy sleep patterns.

Focus ADDult contains a selection of herbs known for their supportive function in maintaining brain, nervous system, circulatory health, and overall well-being.


COMMENTS:

Anonymous said… amazing if it works! My Aspie is 2 1/2 and out of control. I'd love to try these, we'll try anything if it helps him. Can they be used on kids as young as him? Also where do you get them from? We're in Australia, do they deal internationally?
Anonymous said… I just took my son to a holistic doctor and he gave him a vitamin B complex,magnesium,vitamin c and oats.No improvement so far but its only been a few days.
Anonymous said… I SWEAR by the Focus Formula and brightSpark...both work very well on my son. He is HF Aspergers, ADHD, ODD, and SPD...I am actually going to be ordering the Sleep one for him too. This company offers a 100% money back guarantee if you are not pleased...but you have to use it for a week or so until you see the difference. Worth a try and I'm telling you they WORK!! :)))
Anonymous said… I've just ordered my first shipment of the products put together for Aspergers children from native remedies and I live in the uk. I'm yet to try any kind of herbal remedies, this will be the first time I have used anything other than Meletonin that helps him to sleep. I personally dont see the harm in trying out herbal remedies and if they work then that's a bonus. I'm more scared of ever having to medicate him with prescriptions from the doctor so I am exhausting all herbal remedies but also looking at special food diets thar help break down harmful chemicals in our children that can sometimes cause the behaviour they express.
Anonymous said… My son was diagnosed with PDD, depression and anxiety last week but for the past 5 weeks he has been taking BrightSpark. I have noticed a calmness over him. I have just ordered Mindsmoothe and Pure Calm for added help.

Feel free to post your comment below...

Does the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet Actually Work for Kids on the Spectrum?

"What are your thoughts on the GFCF diet for children with AS?"

It has been suggested that peptides from gluten and casein may have a role in the origins of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), including Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA), and that the physiology and psychology of these disorders might be explained by excessive opioid activity linked to these peptides.

Gluten and casein are getting a lot of attention in the ASD community and from physicians in the biomedical movement. Some moms and dads, physicians and researchers say that kids with AS and HFA have shown mild to dramatic improvements in speech and/or behavior after these substances were removed from their diet. Some also report that their kids have experienced fewer bouts of diarrhea and loose stools since starting a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet.

Gluten and gluten-like proteins are found in wheat and other grains (e.g., oats, rye, barley, bulgar, durum, kamut, spelt) and foods made from those grains. They are also found in food starches, semolina, couscous, malt, some vinegars, soy sauce, flavorings, artificial colors and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.

Casein is a protein found in milk and foods containing milk (e.g., cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, whey, some brands of margarine). It also may be added to non-milk products like soy cheese and hot dogs in the form of caseinate.

There is growing interest in the link between AS/HFA and gastrointestinal (GI) ailments. One study found that kids with AS born in the 1990s were more likely to have gastrointestinal problems (e.g., constipation, diarrhea, vomiting) than AS kids who were born in the early 1980s. Some young people use the GFCF diet mainly to ease gastrointestinal problems and food allergies or sensitivities.

According to one theory, some young people with AS and HFA can’t properly digest gluten and casein, which form peptides, or substances that act like opiates in their bodies. The peptides then alter the child’s behavior, perceptions, and responses to his or her environment. Some researchers now believe that peptides trigger an unusual immune system response in certain youngsters. Research has found peptides in the urine of a significant number of kids with AS and HFA. A physician can order a urinary peptide test that can tell if proteins are not being digested properly.

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.

Researchers continue to examine the effectiveness of the GFCF diet, which has not gained widespread acceptance in the U.S. medical community. One recent study found behavioral improvements in kids on a GFCF diet, while another study found no significant effects from the diet.

Medical tests can determine if an AS or HFA youngster has an allergy to gluten, casein and other foods (e.g., eggs, nuts, soybeans). Before changing the youngster's diet, parents should consult with a physician to make sure they are providing a healthy diet and, if necessary, nutritional supplements.

Some advocates of dietary intervention suggest removing one food from the diet at a time, so parents will know which food was causing a problem. It also is helpful to ask young people who don’t know about the dietary change if they see any improvement after a few weeks. It's often suggested to remove milk first, because the body will clear itself of milk/casein the quickest. Gluten may be removed a month after the elimination of milk. It may take up to six months on a gluten-free diet for the body to rid itself of all gluten. That is why most advocates suggest giving the diet a trial of six months.

The diet can seem like a lot of work, at first. Parents must carefully read the ingredients on food packages. Beware of "hidden" casein and gluten in ingredient lists (e.g., curds, caseinate, lactose, bran, spices, certain types of vinegar, etc.). It may be hard to locate an acceptable substitute for milk, although many AS and HFA kids do adapt to the GFCF soy, potato, almond and rice milk substitutes available. Look for varieties that are enriched with calcium and Vitamin D. In addition, many moms and dads provide vitamin and calcium supplements to their kids on the diet.

Many communities have health food stores or regular supermarkets that stock flour, bread, crackers, cookies, pretzels, waffles, cereal, and pasta made of rice, potato or other gluten-free flours. There also are online retailers that sell GFCF foods and vitamins. Also, some web sites list commercially-available GFCF foods (e.g., Heinz ketchup, Bush's Baked Beans, Ore-Ida Golden Fries). Some prepared foods originally developed for young people with Celiac Disease (a form of gluten intolerance) now come in casein-free varieties, too. To save money, some families choose to make their own GFCF foods.

Some of the foods that can be eaten on a GFCF diet include:
  • amaranth
  • beans
  • buckwheat flour
  • corn
  • eggs
  • fish
  • fruits
  • meat
  • nuts
  • oil
  • potatoes
  • poultry
  • quinoa
  • rice
  • shellfish
  • sorghum
  • soy
  • tapioca
  • teff
  • vegetables

Besides gluten and casein, some moms and dads report that removing corn and soy led to equal or greater improvements in their AS and HFA kids. Because soy protein is similar to gluten and casein, some diet proponents recommend removing it if the youngster seems very sensitive.

Although the theory behind the GFCF diet may appear rather peculiar in some respects, there are a number of pieces of evidence which seem to support its use on at least an experimental basis. The ideas are compatible with virtually all the accepted biological data on AS and HFA and are thus worthy of consideration.


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Here's what other parents have had to say:

*   Anonymous said... We saw big improvement. I don't see the diet as expensive. I see the diet as more expensive than wheat...but not expensive. You are raising the price you pay for bread. Not your mortgage. After a few months the modifications weren't that hard. We make bread from a mix. We use corn tortillas. We eat rice, not a lot of pasta. If you still have eczema maybe check into corn intolerance, egg, dairy (if not already removed) or soy. If no improvement suspect whatever food he really loves. Hope this helps! To me the improvement was SOOOOO worth the "learning new way to cook/eat". Yes he was PICKY! :-) 


•    Anonymous said... Big improvement on it. 1 of the books I read when looking at it talked about leaky gut, and it was best to have your child to get tested for the proteins that get leaked from the gut into the blood stream, if this wasn't happening it wouldn't work. In NZ we can't test for, but we get kick back in behaviour if having too much dairy. We found it was more dairy that affected his behaviour than the gluten. Mind you we have also removed artificial products, but I am 1 of the lucky 1's that has a child that will eat most things and enjoys fruit and veges especially green veges.

•    Anonymous said... My son(6) has been on the GFCF diet for 8 months now. We worked with a biomedical doctor named Dr. Woeller. He recommended quite a few all natural supplements to make up for the loss in vitamins. I don't think the diet alone helped much with behavior, but I do believe it has helped with his stomach problems. The vitamins have been the main source of behavior improvement.

•    Anonymous said... Personal experience: it didn't help us. Doctor: my son's doc says that he has seen very few children on whom it has "worked", so he suspects (without having studied it) that those children were gluten intolerant or sensitive, while most children wtih AS are not. It think it's worth a try to see if it works -- though it can be an expensive and time-consuming (for the parent) diet. We have actually found that eliminating food dyes helped with my son's hyperactivity (not his AS). Good luck!

•    Anonymous said... We went with a "clean" diet. Not alot of processed foods. Within 2 days of taking away milk, my son at 13 had a clearer mind. We have also gone gluten free. Yes, a very time consuming diet.

•    Anonymous said... We've done the gluten free with our kiddo when his eczema was so extreme, long before we even considered there was something else going on. We also didn't see a change in either behavior or eczema. However, lately we have been wondering about a nutritional deficiency of some sort. He probably is my most healthy eating child by nature but there are things such has his complexion, ability to heal after bites and scratches, etc that make us wonder about some sort of deficiency. Any suggestions for what to look into there?

•    Anonymous said… We've made changes in my sons diet and have seen a huge difference in him. This year at school has been a turn around from previous years. I believe that some changes in the diet can help. They put a lot of bad stuff in foods. Make the switch to organic if you can and stop buying processed foods.

•    Anonymous said… Tried gluten free diet tried preservative free and organic best results so far.... he is taking NAC and Abilify which is working wonders

•    Anonymous said… The whole reversing cureing i dont agree with but i do think in some kids change in diet can help with some issues and to a degree but it does not work in all.. pretty much same with many methods to help they do to a degree and each child reacts to each method differently but its not a cure or a reverese as the autisms is still there wither it looks less obvious or changes have happened .....

•    Anonymous said… The best cure for autism is really curing societies conformity. I believe it both genetic and environmental. We all are made from both. Problem is when we start labeling what is normal and what isn't. I'm all for better health but that includes accepting people as they are and not fixing them to suit our needs as parents or a society

•    Anonymous said… Perhaps the world shouldn't be so concerned about "curing autism" as they should be curing ignorance to difference. I would rather be surround by a world full of autism than a world full of ignorant people who don't see acceptance as a "cure" to most "problems".

•    Anonymous said… Note to skeptics: If you believe that reversing the symptoms of autism is an impossibility, do a Google or YouTube search for "reversing autism" and witness for yourself accounts from other parents who have had such good fortune!

•    Anonymous said… I'd like to know how I could have changed my daughter's diet when she first exhibited signs of ASD - as a breastfed newborn with sensory overload issues, who needed to be tightly swaddled, providing deep pressure massage? I call b*llocks on diet as a *cause*, though I accept that changes to diet might improve some issues, I do not believe for one minute autism can be reversed. I very much believe in the genetic link - my husband though undiagnosed, is pretty clearly on the spectrum, and both of my children with him are as well (they got the best of us both?). My daughter by my former husband is not, though she does have increased traits.

Please post your comment below…

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

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

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

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

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

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

Click here to read the full article…

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

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

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

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

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to read the full article...

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

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

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