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Aspergers and HFA Children: Behavior Problems

Not knowing what to do, or being unable to do what is appropriate, results in anxiety that leads to behavior problems. In his post, we will discuss the following:
  • Reasons for Rigidity 
  • Not Understanding How the World Works
  • Frames of Reference 
  • Preferred and Non-preferred Activities 
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors and Anxiety 
  • Behavioral Manifestations of Anxiety 
  • Black-and-White Thinking
  • Mind-blindness 
  • Questions to Ask about Your Youngster's Behavior

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Aspergers: Parenting Strategies 101

Aspergers (high functioning autism) is a developmental disorder falling within the autistic spectrum affecting two-way social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and a reluctance to accept change, inflexibility of thought and to have all absorbing narrow areas of interest. Individuals are usually extremely good on rote memory skills (facts, figures, dates, times etc.) many excel in math and science. There is a range of severity of symptoms within the syndrome, the very mildly affected youngster often goes undiagnosed and may just appear odd or eccentric.

While Aspergers is much more common than Autism it is still a rare condition and few people, including professionals, will know about it much less have experience of it. It seems to affect more boys than girls. In general terms they find making friends difficult, not understanding the subtle clues needed to do so. They often use language in a slightly odd way and take literal meanings from what is read or heard. They are happiest with routines and a structured environment, finding it difficult to decide what to do they fall back on to their preferred activities. They love praise, winning and being first, but find loosing, imperfection and criticism very difficult to take. Bad behavior often stems from an inability to communicate their frustrations and anxieties. They need love and tenderness, care, patience and understanding. Within this framework they seem to flourish.

Kids with Aspergers are for the most part bright, happy and loving kids. If we can help break through to their 'own little world' we can help them to cope a little better in society. They have a need to finish tasks they have started. Strategies can be developed to reduce the stress they experience at such times. Warnings that an activity is to finish in x minutes can help with older kids. With younger kids attempts to 'save' the task help - videoing a program, mark in a book etc.

As the kids mature some problems will get easier, but like all other kids new problems will emerge. Some teenagers can feel the lack of friendships difficult to cope with as they try hard to make friends in their own way but find it hard to keep them. This is not always the case; many have friends who act as 'buddies' for long periods of time. Social skills will have to be taught in an effort for them to find a place in the world ... so take all opportunities to explain situations time and time again ... and one day.......it may work!

How do children with Asperger’s cope with physical illnesses?

Question

How do children with Asperger’s cope with physical illnesses?

Answer

There is no one specific way that children with Asperger’s react or deal with physical illnesses. Some children with Asperger’s tend not to be very in tune with their bodies or they don’t know how to express what they are feeling. If a boy has a sore throat, he may either not notice this or he may not understand that this is a physical symptom that should be reported to a parent. Some children with Asperger’s respond to illness with anxiety. They become upset if they are sick.

Most children with Asperger’s tend to find illness upsetting not only because they feel bad but also because it can disrupt their daily routine. If they have a stomach flu, not only are they physically uncomfortable, but they can also be kept home from school. These disruptions can be disturbing for a child with Asperger’s who thrives on order and routine.

Dealing with doctors and hospitals can be unsettling for children with Asperger’s Syndrome. Doctor’s offices and hospitals are designed to be efficient places and often nurses or doctors are not aware of a child with Asperger’s special needs. In her book entitled “Prescription for Success: Supporting Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Medical Environment,” Jill Hudson, M.S., CCLS, looks at ways to make the medical experience easier for children with Asperger’s and their families. This book contains information that medical staff, parents, and educators can use to better interact with children with Autism spectrum disorders. The book contains a CD with printable forms and worksheets, which can be distributed to the people who work with your child.

It is a good idea to talk through some different medical scenarios with your child, before he or she gets sick. Children might not understand what would happen to them if they broke a bone or if they fell off their bike and needed stitches. Exposing them to these ideas before they become a reality can be very helpful should an emergency situation arise.

It can also be helpful to a child with Asperger’s if you talk to him about his own body and how it feels and how it should or shouldn’t feel. Sometimes, children with Asperger’s don’t know if some body part feels wrong or funny, and they don’t know that they should mention it to a parent. Talking through these options with your child can help raise his awareness.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

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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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