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Aspergers Teens Will Test Your Patience

Aspergers (high functioning autism) teens that regularly test the patience of their mother and/or father do so for a variety of reasons. For example, they:
  • are asserting themselves and their independence
  • are protecting themselves
  • are stiff and rule-oriented and acting like little adults
  • are testing whether their parents will enforce the rules
  • can’t "fit-in" with their peer group, or they can’t get through the school day without a significant degree of anxiety, thus when they return home at the end of the school day they slip into meltdown
  • face similar academic problems as students with Attention Deficit Disorder due to their distractibility and difficulty organizing materials
  • feel a sense of pain, loneliness and despair, which can lead to significant behavioral problems at home or school (or both)
  • feel bad about themselves

In any event, parents can do a few things to muster-up some much needed patience:

==> Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens

Depression in Moms with ASD Children

"How common is depression in parents who have an autistic child (perhaps due to stress that comes with the territory)? Of course I love my child, but I'm thinking that I may need some counseling or some other form of outside assistance at this point to help me cope better. My fuse has been quite short lately."

Research reveals  that moms of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) may be prone to depression if they feel responsible for the cause or outcome of their youngster's disorder. 50% of moms with ASD kids had elevated depression scores, compared to 15% to 21% in the other groups. Single moms were found to be more vulnerable to severe depression than moms living with a spouse.

Mothers are considered to exhibit symptoms of depression if they responded “all of the time” or “most of the time” to at least two of the following questions.

During the past 30 DAYS, how often did you feel:

1. Hopeless?
2. Nervous?
3. Restless or fidgety?
4. So sad that nothing could cheer you up?
5. That everything was an effort?
6. Worthless?

Certainly, a feeling of never being a “good enough” parent can lead to depression. And, in many cases, individual counseling for mothers is tremendously helpful. But, while feelings of guilt and inadequacy certainly are at play for many moms - and dads - there's much more to the story.

Families, even those with kids at the upper-end of the spectrum, cope with many other significant issues that often lead to frustration, anger, irritability, anxiety and more. For example:
  • As kids with ASD grow older, moms and dads often face "retirement" with full personal and financial responsibility for an adult child who may depend on them for everything. This can be quite depressing.
  • It can be expensive to treat a youngster on the spectrum. Many families go into debt to support therapies that are not paid for by insurance. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and anger.
  • It can be tough to engage in normal social activity with a youngster on the spectrum. Social isolation is known to lead to depression.
  • Many kids with ASD have a tough time sleeping, and keep their moms and dads awake all night. Exhaustion can lead to depression.
  • Often times, moms with ASD kids wind up quitting jobs they enjoy – and income they need or want – in order to care for or home-school their child. This can certainly lead to depression.
  • Moms and dads receiving a diagnosis of ASD are also coping with the loss of many of their expectations of parenthood. At the same time, they are losing out on the "parent club" that may have sustained them -- everything from exchanging play-dates and childcare with neighbors to coaching the local ball team. That can be depressing.
  • Moms and dads who have to battle the school districts and state mental health agencies for any type of appropriate services are almost certain to run into issues and circumstances which are unacceptable, but over which they have little control. This is certainly depressing.

In short, having a youngster with ASD can, indeed, lead to depression, but the reasons are many and complex. No matter how optimistic or upbeat parents are, they may be unable to cheer up in the face of exhaustion, bankruptcy and isolation.

What are parents to do in the face of so many negatives?

There are a number of options for action. While none will change the underlying truth that your child’s ASD is here to stay, many can help moms and dads cope better with the emotional strain.
  • Try journaling to relieve your stress.
  • Seek respite care, so that you and your spouse can get away together for a well deserved break.
  • Seek professional help from a professional with experience working with families with ASD children.
  • Lower your therapy costs by choosing low-cost, low-risk treatments for your youngster.
  • Find support among like-minded moms and dads of ASD kids.
  • Know that you are doing the very best you can for your youngster. Instead of tormenting yourselves with "what if's," take a moment out to enjoy him or her.

Note: ASD kids of depressed moms are more likely than other kids to have behavior problems, academic difficulties, and health problems. Maternal depression has also been linked to delays in cognitive and motor development among kids 28 to 50 months old. Long-term, maternal depression has been found to have especially adverse consequences for child development and behavior. Five-year-old kids whose moms experienced frequent depression were more likely to have behavioral problems and lower vocabulary scores than those whose moms had less chronic depression. Thus, if you feel you are suffering from depression and have procrastinated in seeking treatment, then please get some help now – if not for you, do it for your special needs child.


•    Anonymous said... As a single mom, struggling with my ASD beautiful child on my own, I can honestly say I suffer from depression, loneliness, and just being burnt out. I love my child and she is the best thing in my life but being the only support for her from the time she wakes up until the time she goes to be is exhausting.
•    Anonymous said... Definitely stress, yes depression, wishing you could take their pain away during a meltdown and the smile that reaches your heart when you watch them take amazing strides. My 10 year old son has 2 rare diseases in addition to high functioning autism, and he is hospital homebound for school, the autism makes the health issues harder to deal with and the health problems aggravate the autism. It definitely makes for an interesting life.
•    Anonymous said... I can totally relate to that, as a single mum it is 24/7 with no break and friends with NT children just don't get it. I found though that it was the constant fight to get my daughter supported in school that led me dangerously close to depression. I've been home edding for 2 years now and she has made so much progress that although yes, it is still isolating, lonely and exhausting I can see my daughter one day holding down a job and maybe even living independantly. I have hope now, whereas in the school system I had none. She is 15 tomorrow and has high functioning autism. Don't give up. I'm sure you are doing brilliantly.
•    Anonymous said... I could totally see this.
•    Anonymous said... I think this is definitely very common and probably the norm.
•    Anonymous said... PTSD is common.
•    Anonymous said... Thank you for posting this.
•    Anonymous said... Wow, is this ever the case in our home. This HFA is not just our sons condition but a family and marriage condition.
•    Anonymous said... Yep it makes sense for sure xx
•    Anonymous said… Good job I am a dad or this could be affecting me too.
•    Anonymous said… I am in that same predicament, except they haven't diagnosed my 4 year old son yet, keep getting told he is too young. But I know he is ADHD, SPD and more than likely has Aspergers. But, I can't find help anywhere near me and I'm a single mom with the 4 year old and 2 year old.
•    Anonymous said… I definitely have anxiety. I brush mine aside to deal with my son's whose is through the roof. I am constantly achy and I know this is the reason.
•    Anonymous said… I find myself in a constant state of grief. When I see friends post about their kids getting straight A's or excelling in sports I get sad and jealous. I know my son is doing the best he can but would rather stay home and play video games.
•    Anonymous said… I found being around people who know how you feel is a massive help. It saved me somewhat. I spent 12 years in my son's world alone and no one else knew what it was like for me. For him yes but for me no. Until I joined local autism groups. The support and friendship is overwhelming at first as your so used to going it alone. I've met some lovely new friends and we all help each other and know how the other feels. My son gets to socialise and I get to chat with the mum's.
•    Anonymous said… I get that! Anxiety that your child will be ok in school, will not be bullied by neither peer nor ignorant teacher. That he won't have a melt down. That he will have a friend. That the other kids won't throw grapes at him during lunch or steal his food. It has been one difficult road, as a mother, to watch your child go to school. He has always been super anxious too and is also treated for it.
•    Anonymous said… I had exactly that but we moved and changed schools and it's so different. My son has had to learn some social lessons about not telling on every single thing but he's relaxed and is enjoying it now. In his last school I dreaded picking him up as the teacher always had a negative comment and he'd be in tears. So we've been very fortunate but he's 10 and we have many school years to go.
•    Anonymous said… I have a Aspie husband, Aspie step-daughter (22), and an Aspie son (15). For so long, I thought I was depressed, but found out it was anxiety. I have gone through a lot of Asperger's counseling with experts. I was also suffering from unrelated PTSD and so I am on a mild anti-anxiety med and it truly has turned my life around. Talk to a counselor to see if it really is depression. Anxiety is masked in many different forms.
•    Anonymous said… I so needed to read this today. When my son struggles at school I struggle emotionally. I want to help him so much but I feel helpless.
•    Anonymous said… I struggle greatly with anxiety. My husband is an aspie with bipolar, adhd, anxiety, depression and NF 1. Our 14 yr old is an aspie with adhd, anxiety, spd, and NF 1. Our 4 yr old has social pragmatic communication disorder, spd, anxiety and is a runner. Our 17 month old and 5 month old have NF 1, so far. I feel overwhelmed most of the time. Lack of jobs due to hubby's issues and my trying to keep appointments for health and counseling and everyone together. So, no money, lots of bills, and constant worry equals lots of anxiety.
•    Anonymous said… I'd say it's pretty common....extreme levels of emotional stress coupled with anxiety, the fatigue from worrying constantly, yep, a total recipe for depression.... 😕
•    Anonymous said… I'd say very common. Throw is normal life stressors and then for me chronic pain and no support I'm fighting a losing battle
•    Anonymous said… I'm trying to take it one day at time. I have such control issues! Ha!
•    Anonymous said… It's a tough road, going thru the same with my 4 yr old.  :-(
•    Anonymous said… I've had anxiety for a while. My son is 11 and on the spectrum. The daily worries of school life, psychology appts, doctors, meltdowns etc gave me anxiety. I consulted my doctor in which l take medication for now to put me on an even keil to cope.
•    Anonymous said… Not only moms. I am the primary caregiver. I have lost my job, I'm depressed, have panic attacks, and broke. Apart from that, everything is hunky-dory.
•    Anonymous said… Not so much depression, anxiety lethal high have 2 kids asd. 1 with asd adhd severe odd learning difficulties its hard for it to not affect ur mental health esp when ur a single parent buy defo dont tink im depressed its pure worry
•    Anonymous said… One day at a time  😘 I'm here when you need me. You got this.
•    Anonymous said… this is the sort of support I use xxx
•    Anonymous said… You are not alone. Message me if you want to talk. I'm in the same boat  ❤️

Post your comment below…

Teens on the Autism Spectrum and Porn Addiction


I’m an MFT in California and I have a new client who is step mom to a 16yr old boy who has Aspergers. Lots of stressors: military family, dad has been away much of past several years, and is currently deployed, step mom is authoritarian in style, having been raised in an army family. She appears willing to consider change, as she is so stressed. She says he’s ‘a good boy’ and she loves him, but the behaviors have to change.

The boy has been obsessed with porn for a couple of years now and apparently has stolen mom/dads credit cards and downloaded over $5,000.00 of online porn. They keep removing access from him, he keeps accessing more. He also takes mom and 18 yr. old sister’s underpants, and cuts the crotches out. She doesn’t think he’s wearing it – probably masturbating with them, though she hasn’t found them soiled – just cut out. They have resorted to locking their bedroom doors, and he has broken in more than once – to access mom’s credit card, and sister’s computer and panties.

Strong sexual interest at 16 is natural, some obsessive quality about it may be common with the Aspergers feature, and he doesn’t have the social skills to get a girlfriend at this time. The family understands the boy has sexual urges, and has considered making a Playboy subscription available for him. They can’t tolerate the stealing, charges to credit cards, breaking in to their rooms, and obsessive porn fixation.

I’m not an expert here – open to suggestion if you’re willing to offer.


Pornography can create a powerful biochemical “rush.” When an adolescent is subjected to an arousing image, the adrenal gland secretes epinephrine into the bloodstream, where it proceeds to the brain and locks the image in. Once this has occurred, the simple thought of the image can trigger a feeling of arousal. Many porn-addicted adults can still vividly recall the first pornographic image to which they were exposed as a kid or teen. Other body chemicals (e.g., serotonin, adrenaline, endorphins, dopamine, etc.) also are at play creating a euphoric state.

Adolescents who experience this biochemical thrill will, not surprisingly, want to experience it again. Thus, it is helpful for therapists to see pornography not as just a social issue – but as a drug, because the addictive mechanism is clearly part of the danger when adolescents habitually view pornography.

While treatment plans vary strongly by circumstance, there are some important considerations to remember for therapists who are working with Aspergers and high-functioning autistic (HFA) adolescents on this sensitive issue:

1. One of the fundamental mistakes therapists make when dealing with adolescents and pornography is to willingly or inadvertently reveal, or even attempt to impose, their own religious or moral values. Therapists must never make assumptions about values of their clients (or their families), nor try to impose personal religious or moral viewpoints, even if they feel it is in the best interest of the client. Also, it is very important to closely monitor any self-disclosure about your own sexual experiences.

2. It is helpful to gain an understanding of the client’s sexual parameters, and to help them define their boundaries if they are unsure where to draw them. A helpful tool for this is the “circle plan” in which three concentric circles are drawn representing healthy sexual behaviors (outer circle), boundary or uncertain behaviors (middle circle), and bottom-line or off-limits behavior (center circle) and helping the Aspergers adolescent define where he stands. Aiding the clients in the creation of these boundaries in a safe environment will help equip them to not have to make snap decisions about where to draw the line in sexually charged, real-life situations.

3. With pornography, therapists sometimes fail to understand the power of the compulsion Aspergers and HFA adolescents are facing, and it is not uncommon for school, religious, or private-sector therapists to advocate a simple treatment plan that is based upon willpower or moral character. Since pornography can be an addiction, these “just say no” types of approaches are likely to only create more frustration and self-defeating ideation in adolescents on the autism spectrum who do not have the willpower to stop. For such teens that can no longer control their actions, the intervention and treatment modality must recognize the problem as a full addiction, and treat it with the same consideration given to alcohol or drugs.

4. Many of these special needs adolescents who are developing compulsive pornography problems do so in agonized isolation, often believing that they are perverts and alone in their actions. It can be helpful for the professional to educate them on the prevalence of the issue while still clearly communicating the dangers so they don’t trade their isolation for an “oh well, since everyone is doing it…” idea.

5. For many adolescents who are struggling with pornography, shame is a major factor. When you first meet the client, it is not unusual for him to avoid eye contact, and be hesitant to answer questions. The practitioner should attempt to minimize shame by being supportive and nonjudgmental about the struggle.

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==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

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==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


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Best Comment:

I have a 16 year old son who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was about 10 years old. He has been accessing pornography in various forms for the last two years. I have restricted his access to media (he has not been allowed unsupervised internet or television activity in two years) but he consistently sneaks internet porn by taking laptops or smart phones out of family member's rooms at night when we are asleep. A year ago he ordered $180 in pay-per-view movies at which point we set password protections on the televisions. We have password protected our smart phones and computers though he finds ways to circumvent these protections (i.e. he will catch the computer before it goes into sleep mode and close the lid so that he is able to access it at night).

I am concerned that he will act on the sexual content he is obsessed with. Most recently I found he has accessed a website which had content that included teen boys having sex with family members (step-mother or mother). I am especially concerned because he seems to be fixated on his sister (14 years old). He frequently will touch her hair or in appropriately get close to her, blowing on her face or the back of her neck. I am also responsible for my 10 year old nephew who is in the foster-care system and lives with us. I am concerned that he might act out sexually on him, although he has not shown any sexual fixation on him (though he has shown hostility towards him) and the pornography he has accessed to date has been heterosexual in content.

He is under the care of a psychiatrist who has prescribed Vyvanse70 mg, Zoloft 125mg, and Intunive 4mg, as well as Seraquel 20 mg at bedtime and a booster of Adderall 10 mg in the afternoon.

My son went to pre-k in public school was home educated from kindergarten (which he repeated twice) through the first half of 3rd grade and then home educated from 5th grade (which he repeated) until this school year (8th grade). I had to make the change because he had become so oppositional with his tutor (his 26 year old sister who has a teaching degree) that she refused to teach him any longer. He would love to return to home education, but he is so oppositional this is not an option. He does not sleep well (which is why we have introduced the serequel in the last 6 weeks) and often will eat large amounts of sweets while the family sleeps (typically all the cookies or sweet cereal in a box).

I am so frustrated with the compulsive behavior, lying and porn addiction that I have often threatened to send him to live with his father. His dad is emotionally volatile (we are divorced due to his emotional abuse) and I don't really think it is in my son’s best interest to live with his father, but I don't know what to do with him. He has hit me two times in the last 8 weeks and both times I called the police. The first time the police warned him that if they were called again they would take him into custody. The second time the police took him away from our home in handcuffs and placed him in their police car while they questioned the family. They called his father to pick him up from the station rather than place him in Juvenal Detention overnight. His father picked him up and threatened to, "F---ing beat the H--- out of" him if that ever happened again.

In have initiated the help of a counselor who deals with sexual offenders as his counselor (he has only seen him twice), I have gotten him a cat so that he has a healthy outlet for his need for physical touch, and I have initiated the help of an emotionally healthy man (a longtime family friend and church member) to mentor him and give him a part-time job in landscaping (his 20 year old brother also works for this man).

I don't know what else to do for my son. I am hoping you can advise me or direct me to a treatment plan or inpatient facility that can help my son before my son violates someone. I don't want someone else's life to be damaged by my son and I don't want him to further damage his own life either.

Please post your comment below...

Mind-Blindness: 2-Minute Tip

What is mind-blindness does it affect Aspergers children ...and what can parents do to help?

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


"I have just listen to this for the first time. I can't wait to let my friends and family hear as it such a simple way for them to understand my child. Thank you."

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.

Click here
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...