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Aspergers Children and Bad Language

Bad language (i.e., cursing, name-calling, rude statements like “I hate you,” etc.) and the Aspergers condition often go hand in hand.

Bad language displayed by a youngster with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) can follow him into adulthood if he isn’t shown the proper way to respond to situations.

Here are some very simple – yet very effective – tips to prevent bad language in Aspergers and HFA children:

1. Keep control yourself. If you, the parent, over-react to something, then your youngster is going to see justification in the way he behaves. Therefore, you too must limit your use of curse words, as well as “near-curse words” (e.g., freakin, crap, bull, etc.).

2. Positive reinforcement focuses on rewarding your Aspergers youngster for good behavior. In this way, the parent does not have to wait for bad behavior to take place before the youngster is recognized. With positive reinforcement, you may reward the youngster for going an entire day without using a curse word. Negative reinforcement can be used in conjunction with positive reinforcement, or they can each be used alone.

3. Establish a “Cursing Jar”. If your child curses, he has to put a quarter into the jar. If money isn’t readily available, a note with your child’s name on it can go into the jar, and every note might equal 10 minutes of an extra task or chore. NOTE: Doing his regular chores shouldn’t be a consequence; you should give your child extra things to do. If you make your child do the dishes because he cursed, and then you ask him to do them again on Thursday night as a regular chore, he’s going to ask, “Why? I didn’t do anything wrong.” He’ll feel like he’s being punished, when all you want is for him to do his normal chores around the house. So it’s an extra chore you want to add on. Also, the sooner you issue the consequence after the cursing – the better!

4. Negative reinforcement can be useful for controlling bad language. An Aspie usually has obsessions. Thus, if you take away time from his obsessive activity, it can reinforce that when he uses bad language, he loses the privileges to do his favorite things. Have a visual schedule for your youngster. Then, when he says a bad word, demonstrate that this behavior is not acceptable by marking off an hour of his time that would be devoted to doing his favorite thing (e.g., playing video games, watching TV, reading a book). Even if his favorite activity is a rather “productive” way for him to spend time, withhold the privilege for a period of time (anywhere from one hour to one day works best).

5. Some Aspergers children will swear passive-aggressively, under their breath. But let’s face it, even if it’s under their breath, it’s the same thing, and you should give your child consequences for it. They may say, “I didn’t say anything. That’s not fair!” You can come back with, “I’m sorry, but that’s what I heard you say. In the future, speak more loudly, or there will be consequences.” In other words, don’t let muttering curse words under his breath become a way for him to manipulate so that he doesn’t have to develop self-control.

6. Role-playing can be a useful technique in controlling bad language in Aspergers kids; however, most Aspies do not empathize with the feelings of others since they don’t understand them. Therefore, role-playing is helpful. Find books (online, bookstore, library) that demonstrate how people in similar situations use appropriate actions and how they feel.

7. Discuss with your Aspergers child that you do not find cursing acceptable. Help him to find other, more appropriate words – and ways – to express himself.

8. Set household rules against cursing. Establish consequences that will be used if the cursing rule is broken.

9. Do not be a pushover. If you let your Aspie break the rules without following through with a consequence, he will continually break the rules in the future.

10. Know that most kids with Aspergers do not respond well to being “punished.” However, “discipline” can be quite effective. Discipline teaches the Aspergers youngster how to act. Discipline should make sense to him, and should have something to do with what he has done wrong. Discipline helps a child feel good about himself, and gives him the chance to correct his mistakes. It puts him in charge of his actions. On the other hand, punishment only tells a child that he is bad. It does not tell a child what he should do instead. So punishment may not make sense to the Aspie. Punishment usually has nothing to do with what he did wrong.

Below are some examples of what your Aspie can do wrong. Some types of punishment and discipline are given. Can you see how they are different?

Example 1: In a tantrum, your four-year-old Aspie throws his crayons all over the floor.

Punishment: You say, “That’s a bad boy” and slap his hand.

Discipline: You say, “You can choose to pick up your crayons within the next five minutes, or you can choose to lose coloring privileges for the rest of day …what do you want to do?”


Example 2: Your seven-year-old Aspie refuses to do his chores.

Punishment: You spank him and send him to his room.

Discipline: You say, “You can do your chores and then play your favorite video game, or you can go to your room without any privileges …which one would you like to do?”


My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

An Official Diagnosis: How Important Is It?

Question

I suspect that my 20-year-old son (still living at home) may have Aspergers. Should he get an official diagnosis – or is it better to not know so he doesn’t get labeled?

Answer

A lot will depend on how well your son is functioning in daily life. If he is not experiencing any major problems in relationships or employment, it may not be important to get an actual diagnosis of Aspergers (high functioning autism). However, an official diagnosis is necessary if he needs to apply for social benefits at some point (e.g., Social Security Disability, Vocational Rehabilitation). Note that the diagnosis of Aspergers alone will not qualify him for services. He will also need to be diagnosed with some disabling co-morbid condition that affects his ability to function in the work or home environment.

Despite the fact that functioning in a “normal” world can be very difficult for Aspies, a diagnosis of Aspergers does not mean the individual is unable to learn to function, especially if he is fortunate enough to have people in his life that provide the support he needs.

Getting an official diagnosis can be useful if your son needs accommodations in order to perform tasks, or deal with the environment, in an employment situation. Such accommodations may include alternative ways of communicating, a more isolated space, breaks, etc.

On the other hand, if your son is having considerable difficulty with relationships, especially with regards to understanding other’s perspectives, then investigating whether or not he has Aspergers may be important. He may need to (a) explore what it is he expects and needs from relationships and (b) learn how to advocate for what he wants in a non-demanding manner. If he decides to seek help in this regard, he should be sure that the diagnostician has experience with -- and is accepting of -- Aspergers differences.

Who should you contact?

Psychologists or neuropsychologists will arrive at a diagnosis through testing. This can be helpful if your son is looking for more information on areas of learning strength and differences. A neuropsychologist looks at neurological and psychological issues. This type of assessment can provide helpful information, but only if the psychologist or neuropsychologist is familiar with neurological differences associated with Aspergers. Otherwise, the report is not likely to provide an accurate picture of your son that he can relate to and use.

A psychiatrist will often diagnose the client after getting a history and talking with you and your son (or others who know your son). A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe medication that may be helpful in dealing with comorbid conditions (e.g., anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.).

The choice should always be left up to your son as to whether or not he wants to try medication. Medication can have side effects he will need to be aware of. Be aware that psychotropic medications (e.g., antidepressants) ) must never be stopped suddenly, and long-term use can sometimes result in a form of tics. Your son always has the choice of trying natural supplements that have a similar influence on brain chemistry. Unfortunately the manufacturers of supplements are unregulated, so his doctor probably won’t support their use, and his insurance is not going to cover their cost.


 
COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Defo best for a diagnosis my son is 14,& only got a diagnosis this yr it makes a huge difference opens doors for then & gives them lots of support iv learnt that it can be a lonely life for them out with the family without the help & support xx
•    Anonymous said... Get a diagnosis so he can deal with it in adult life.
•    Anonymous said... He could apply for an rdsp if he has a diagnosis. The savings of that could help him later in life if he needs it.
Knowing might make him more open to meeting other like him, and take workshops and join groups.
•    Anonymous said... I dont know what to do. My 7 year old was diagnosed with aspergers in january of this year. He is a holy terror, disrespectful, a bully, its never his fault we have tried talking to him, explaining things to him, grounding him, nothing works. I dont know where to turn. He is destroying his life, his brothers and our whole family. It breaks my heart to see him struggling so much. Help please
•    Anonymous said... My daughter was a lot younger (11) when she was diagnosed, but it was such a relief for her. Kids with Asperger's know they are different. I think it helps to know why and that there are many others out there who are like them. My daughter considers Asperger's a special club to which only unique individuals belong and even goes to a social group with other autistic teens (most of whom are high functioning like her).
•    Anonymous said... NEED HELP! I have a 25 yr. old aspie daughter who lives with me at home, does not have a job, has a driver's license but is afraid to go out on the highway, gets social security disability but doesn't give me any money for room and board, now has a drinking problem. Its 11 am on a Saturday morning and she is already drunk. She is spiteful. I have a full time job and work all day M-F and when I get home she has helped herself to my personal belongings in my bedroom. We have tried counseling but that never works. I am a single mom. Her dad can't handle her. I can't handle her. I don't know what else to do besides get a restraining order and have her removed from my home.
•    Anonymous said... Since he is an adult I would yalk to him about it. Since our son's diagnosis, my son is more confident and understands why he's a little different and can make adjustments. He also has gifts he understands better.
*    Anonymous said... I lived with aspergers for 47 yrs. There have been so many things I could have understood better and adapted my life better after had I known from the start. I didn't get my diagnosis until 3 yrs ago. There have been much pain that could have been avoided. Getting answers to all the "why's" are so important, and there are many.
*    Anonymous said... My son is almost 20. He was diagnosed earlier this year and refuses to accept it. I am very supportive but its draining. He was misdiagnosed 10yrs ago. Didn't get the right help...medicated when he shouldn't have been. He's happier off them...but he was failed by the doctors in many ways...didn't get support at school and didnt finish. Now he sits in his room and plays Xbox...has friends online and one from school he sees 2 to 3 times a year. All I want is for him to try and accept it and others to understand and not be so judgemental!

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How Aspergers is Diagnosed?

Question

How can professionals tell if someone has Aspergers …and is it possible to have something in addition to Aspergers?

Answer

Aspergers (high functioning autism) is usually diagnosed when all other disorders have been ruled out. Individuals who have, or suspect they have, Aspergers may have been previously diagnosed with:

• Attention Deficit Disorder
• Autistic Disorder, High Functioning
• Developmental Coordination Disorder
• Nonverbal Learning Disorder
• Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified
• Right Hemisphere Learning Disorder
• Schizoid Personality Disorder
• Semantic Pragmatic Language Disorder
• Traumatic Brain Injury (if one has a medical history that includes a past head injury)

There are several disorders that are frequently co-morbid with Aspergers (i.e., occurs along with Aspergers). These include:

• Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
• Depressive Disorder
• Dysthymia Disorder
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
• Seizure Disorder/Epilepsy
• Sensory Integration Dysfunction
• Tourette’s Syndrome

The diagnosis of Aspergers is usually the result of a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. In most cases, the evaluation will involve the following components:
  • communication and psychiatric assessments
  • history
  • parental conferences
  • psychological assessment
  • recommendations
  • further consultation if needed

Aspergers involves delays and deviant patterns of behavior in multiple areas of functioning that often require the input of therapists with different areas of expertise, especially overall developmental functioning, neuropsychological features, and behavioral status. Thus, the clinical assessment of people with Aspergers should be conducted by an experienced interdisciplinary team.

It is very important that parents participate in the psychiatric evaluation. Evaluation findings should be translated into a single coherent view of the child. Recommendations should be easily understood, detailed, concrete, and realistic. When writing reports, therapists should express the implications of their findings to the client’s day-to-day adaptation, learning, and vocational training.

As Aspergers (high functioning autism) becomes a more well-known diagnostic label, it is possible that it is becoming a trendy concept used in a needless manner by therapists who intend to convey only that their patient is currently experiencing difficulties in social interaction and in peer relationships. The label “Aspergers” is meant as a serious and debilitating developmental disorder impairing the individual’s capacity for socialization – not a temporary or mild condition. Thus, moms and dads should be briefed about the current knowledge-base of Aspergers and the common confusions around this disorder that currently exist in the mental health field. Clinicians should clarify any misconceptions and establish a consensus about the client’s abilities and disabilities, which should not be simply assumed under the use of the diagnostic label.

Specific areas of evaluation include the following:

1. A careful history should be obtained, including information related to pregnancy and neonatal period, early development and characteristics of development, and medical and family history.

2. A review of previous records including previous evaluations should be performed and the information incorporated and results compared in order to obtain a sense of course of development.

3. Several other specific areas should be directly examined (e.g., a careful history of onset/recognition of the problems, development of motor skills, language patterns, and areas of special interest).

4. Particular emphasis should be placed on social development, including past and present problems in social interaction, patterns of attachment of family members, development of friendships, self-concept, emotional development, and mood presentation.

5. Other specific areas should be examined and measured including:
  • academic achievement (i.e., performance in school-like subjects)
  • adaptive functioning (i.e., degree of self-sufficiency in real-life situations)
  • neuropsychological functioning (i.e., motor and psychomotor skills, memory, executive functions, problem-solving, concept formation, visual-perceptual skills)
  • personality assessment (i.e., common preoccupations, compensatory strategies of adaptation, mood presentation)

6. A fairly comprehensive neuropsychological assessment should be conducted, including:
  • concept formation (both verbal and nonverbal)
  • executive functions
  • facial recognition
  • gestalt perception
  • measures of motor skills (i.e., coordination of the large muscles as well as manipulative skills and visual-motor coordination, visual-perceptual skills)
  • parts-whole relationships
  • spatial orientation
  • visual memory

7. Particular attention should be given to demonstrated or potential compensatory strategies (e.g., individuals with significant visual-spatial deficits may translate the task or mediate their responses by means of verbal strategies or verbal guidance). Such strategies may be important for educational programming.

8. A communication assessment to obtain both quantitative and qualitative information regarding the various aspects of the client’s communication skills should be performed. The assessment should examine:
  • content, coherence, and contingency of conversation
  • non-literal language (e.g., metaphor, irony, absurdities, and humor)
  • nonverbal forms of communication (e.g., gaze, gestures)
  • pragmatics (e.g., turn-taking, sensitivity to cues provided by the interlocutor, adherence to typical rules of conversation)
  • prosody of speech (melody, volume, stress and pitch)

This assessment should go beyond the testing of speech and formal language (e.g., articulation, vocabulary, sentence construction and comprehension), which are often areas of strength.

9. Lastly, the psychiatric evaluation should include observations of the client during more and less structured periods (e.g., while interacting with parents and while engaged in assessment by members of the assessment team). Specific areas for observation and inquiry should include:
  • ability to infer other’s intentions and beliefs
  • ability to intuit other’s feelings
  • ability to understand ambiguous non-literal communications (e.g., teasing and sarcasm)
  • anxiety
  • capacities for self-awareness
  • coherence of thought
  • depression
  • development of peer relationships and friendships
  • level of insight into social and behavioral problems
  • panic attacks
  • perspective-taking
  • problem behaviors that are likely to interfere with treatment should be noted (e.g., aggression).
  • quality of attachment to family members
  • social and affective presentation
  • the client’s patterns of special interest and leisure time
  • the presence of obsessions or compulsions
  • typical reactions in novel situations

It is possible for some individuals to have some Asperger tendencies, but not have full-blown Aspergers per say. A diagnosis of Aspergers simply reflects the severity of the differences between those with the diagnosis and those without. Current research suggests that there are 10-15 genes related to Aspergers. The severity of differences may relate to how many genes are affected and/or other inherited traits, environmental exposures, and life experiences.

The inability to clearly define the difference between Autism and Aspergers is why researchers consider both to be part of an “Autism Spectrum” (Aspergers representing the higher-functioning of the spectrum). Those with Aspergers have normal to above normal intelligence and fewer limitations in their use of speech and ability to communicate than those diagnosed with Autism. Significant delays in the development of speech and communication, beyond the age of 2 years, are considered characteristic of Autism.

People that do develop speech but continue to have difficulties in communication and/or performing daily living activities are often classified as having “high functioning autism.” This is a description that many grown-ups on the Autism Spectrum dislike because it suggests that people with more severe difficulties in communicating and performing daily living activities are “low functioning.” The false assumption is that Autistics are mentally retarded, and as a result, they are not given the mental and academic stimulation they need to achieve their full potential. Yet many “low functioning” Autistic people are very intelligent once the environmental and/or biochemical stresses interfering with their ability to communicate or perform daily living activities are lessened.

Because of high verbal skills, the expectations are often just the opposite for Aspies. The assumption is that Aspies are intelligent enough to do more than they demonstrate and are just not trying hard enough. But the truth is that they are “passing” for close to “normal” only because they are trying so hard, and in most cases, can’t function better than they do. Therefore, it is important for the Aspie to develop some “self-advocacy skills” to clearly communicate to others just what he/she can and cannot do.

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.

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."

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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.

Click here for the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content