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Rigidity in Children with ASD Level 1 [High-Functioning Autism]

Have you ever wondered why your child can be so stubborn? Here's why:


Anonymous said...
Thank you! This describes my son to a T! He had a meltdown last night because I hadn't warned him that a meeting was starting 1/2 hour earlier than he was used to. This helps explain that!

Anonymous said...
I have a 6 1/2 year old that has just been diagnosed last week with Asperger's, we were told from age 13 months when we adopted him that people thought he was Asperger's but never got a diagnosis, it has been a very trying few years let me tell you! I know nothing about Asperger's and would really like some support, reading some of the articles below and comments alot of them sound like my son! If nothing else it's nice to read that my son isnt the only child with these issues, meltdowns are a major problem we have had with him...any comments and idea's / help is appreciated

Anonymous said...
My son is 13 years old and was just diagnosed about a month ago.........I always had a feeling however it still took forever for the diagnoses. One thing I have found is routine is imperative........When we do change up his schedule I always give him a heads up prior to the change and that makes all the difference in the world!! Meltdowns use to happen almost daily, now it's about once every 2 weeks.

Anonymous said...
I never knew much about Asperger's at all but have been told by different people that have worked with Zak that they thought he might be that, but getting a diagnosis from a doctor takes forever! Honestly when he gave me that diagnosis I was relieved but yet worried that I don't know what to do for Zak. he has had MAJOR meltdowns and is better on Concerta and all the other meds he takes (which I feel like a drug store) but still has them daily, its like he wants everything to be his way, he actually told me the other day he doesnt want to live here because we wont give him his way all the time, I keep saying its like he is a spoiled brat?? though we do give him a lot we try to be firm with him.

Teaching Self-Care Skills to Children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

When our challenged Aspergers or high-functioning autistic (HFA) kids are young, it’s natural for parents to want to do things for them. Learning new skills is frustrating, and finding ones at the right developmental level is tricky. However, recognizing that these kids can never have any degree of independence if moms and dads don’t teach them to take care of themselves is an important step first toward showing your youngster "the ropes."

For some kids on the autism spectrum, even the simplest things require carefully thought-out teaching. Lacing-up shoe strings, dressing, hand-washing, teeth-brushing, bed-making, etc. are all projects you may want to tackle with your youngster, but it's not always easy to see how to teach things that seem so simple and so obvious.

One of the most useful instructions is teaching skills backwards: Do everything for your youngster up to the final step, then let him complete the task at hand (e.g., give shoelaces that last tightening tug). Gradually, over days or weeks, you’ll add more and more steps until he is starting at the very beginning. It’s a great way to ensure that teaching sessions always end with success.

Here are some more important tips for teaching self-care skills:

1. Be consistent. Use the same cues, gestures, words, prompts, and procedures.

2. Because moms and dads often lack the time or energy to spend long hours of intense work with the youngster, most activities must be planned to fit into the routine of the day, or they will not be carried out (e.g., when traveling in the car, work on “the use of hand wipes” after your child has taken the last lick of his ice cream cone).

3. Do not hurry; be patient. Progress may be slow at first. It's normal to feel some frustration. Think back to when you last learned a difficult task. If you need to take a break or relax, go ahead.

4. Give both the youngster positive feedback and lots of encouragement for his efforts.

5. If one way does not work, try another way until you find one that does!

6. Once the youngster can do a skill, let her do it on her own – even if it takes longer. If your youngster thinks you will help, she will stall long enough for you to do it. The youngster needs to know that she can do things and that her mother and father can expect that of her.

7. Once the steps to a particular task have been identified, you can choose to use – and then fade-out – physical prompts with backward or forward chaining. In backward chaining, full manipulation of the youngster is given on all steps until the last one, which the youngster performs independently. As training progresses, prompts are faded to the next to the last step and so on until the youngster performs the entire task without help. In forward chaining, fading begins with the first step, and then assistance is given on the others. Forward chaining should be used if the youngster already knows some of the steps.

8. Seize teachable moments (e.g., if all of a sudden one day your youngster decides he is going to make his first peanut butter sandwich all by himself – and it’s not going so well – stop what you are doing and turn the experience into a “sandwich making” lesson.

9. Some moms and dads feel that they can only work on one specific objective at a time. They become very concerned with small tasks and forget to let the youngster be a kid. During times such as bathing, outside exploring, feeding, washing dishes and playing, many skills can be taught or reinforced without thinking things like: "I cannot do that now, I am working on another skill this week" or "I do not know all the steps to teach that skill yet."

10. Teach skills within age-appropriate, functional activities with real objects to help the youngster generalize information.

11. Analyze the behaviors involved in completing a certain task. Write those steps down into a workable sequence, and then put it in “social story” format.

12. Try doing the task in question yourself – blindfolded! What steps do you go through? How do you do it? How would you deal with the difficult steps?

13. Use common sense. Teach new skills when and where they happen so that the youngster learns there is a reason for what he is doing.

14. Use of consistent routines is critical. Routines give the youngster a sense of control and an understanding of what comes next or what will happen. When routines are disrupted, the youngster on the spectrum may be fussy and take a day or two to get back into the routine.

15. Reward yourself and your youngster for the "big" successes that occur (e.g., “Great! You have officially learned how to tie your shoes. Hurray!!! Let’s go get an ice cream cone to celebrate.”).

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

==> 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

Dealing with People Who Judge or Criticize Your Child with ASD

 "Help! I have a mother-in-law who believes that all my boy (high functioning autistic) needs is a 'good wippin' ...please, give me a break spanking a special needs child will get him to snap out of it. What do you do with a person like this who has such a narrow perspective? She has no clue!"

Do you have a family member, friend, or coworker who talks about your youngster's problems as if he/she wasn't standing right there …who consistently criticizes your parenting skills …who questions your judgment …who glares at your youngster as if he/she is a freak …or who treats him/her like a “problem child” who simply needs to “learn how to behave”?

No doubt, you as the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) have probably found yourself on the receiving end some narrow-mindedness, intolerance, and downright discrimination among those who are (a) ignorant about the condition, and (b) quick to judge.

Managing the judgmental people in your life takes some special “people-skills” that you wouldn’t need if you didn’t have a special needs child.

Here are some tips for dealing with the critics:

1. Just as you know your youngster is bound to behave unacceptably in certain situations, accept that judgmental people are going to state their opinions whether you want to receive it or not. One idea is to change the environment by removing yourself from it. Avoid these people if you possibly can. If you can't, plan your escape just the way you might plan to get in and out of the shopping center quickly with your easily over-stimulated youngster. Have a reason prepared for leaving early, or hanging up quickly.

2. Looking at judgmental people as “specimens to be examined” rather than “idiots who should know better” can take away some of their power.
  • Are they so rigid in their thinking that they can't imagine anybody having a different opinion?
  • Are they so unhappy with their own lives that they want others to be unhappy, too?
  • Do they get a feeling of power from making inconsiderate comments?
  • Do they talk that way because they're insecure and want to build themselves up by tearing others down?
  • Is it possible that they're speaking out of caring and concern, but are just really bad at it?

As with your youngster, if you can figure out what the “critics” are getting out of their behavior, you can try to give them the same reward for behavior that is more acceptable.

3. Just as you can't expect your youngster to act his chronological age, you can't expect your mother-in-law (to use her as an example) to - all of a sudden - appreciate your parenting the way you would like. You may hope for a gradual improvement, and you may find ways to tolerate her attitude, but every time you expect her to act in ways she is fundamentally unable to, you set yourself up for disappointment. In the end, as with your child, you can only truly control yourself.

4. Keep the conversation away from negative comments about your child’s behavior by increasing positive comments about theirs. Flattery may get you everywhere. A kid on the autism spectrum benefits from hearing lots of enthusiastic, positive statements and observations, with negatives delivered as unemotionally as possible. Try that with the judgmental people in your life. If they turn the conversation toward your child’s shortcomings, turn it back with something nice about them. Use distraction as a tool to covert negativity into positivity.

5. If you know you're in for a stressful encounter, talk to a empathetic friend ahead of time to strengthen yourself emotionally. During the encounter, think only about what a great story this will make later on. Then, when you get home, share the outrageous behavior with your friend or a support group. If you've ever vented about your youngster's behavior, you'll know just what to do.

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


•    Anonymous said... All I can say is forgive her for her ignorance, she doesn't get it! You know ur child better than anyone, and know what it is they need. Pay NO attention to the rest who have no clue or idea! Cherish every little difference he has...a child with Special needs isn't given to just anyone! Take care of u, too!!

•    Anonymous said... Hear you well, I keep my mil at a distance as she deliberately winds him up which then the only solution is to leave, so now I just say why bother going there. I'm the one that then has to spend the next few hours calming him down, not her.

•    Anonymous said... I also feel your pain, and I found it so difficult until I remembered that I'm his parent and he is my child, my child who I love and want the best for and being swayed in any way by other people is not what is best for him or any child x

•    Anonymous said... I feel your pain! I have some family members who say similar things and aren't interested in being more educated about what it can mean to live with Asperger's and that harsh physical punishments DO NOT WORK. The hardest part is that my son feels their judgments and knows that they treat him differently because of it.

•    Anonymous said... I have a MIL that blames me for how he is. She said "I don't mean to insult you but it's your fault he is like this". My jaw hit the floor and of course my husband was not around at the time. She continued to go on and say I should have read to him more, disciplined him better..etc. I took a long breathe and just let it go. I did not argue with her because I feel she is ignorant and if she feels she has to blame someone let it be me. I can take it!

•    Anonymous said... My son is 8 and I would never dream of smackin him thats cruel. We now have cards that we show to people who huff and puff when hes having a meltdown

•    Anonymous said... Well, I wouldn't really suggest taking my advice! However, my sister in law told me I needed to whip my son's bottom once. I looked at her and told her I couldn't spank autism out of my son any more then I could slap the ignorance out of her. She hasn't said anything since lol. don't mess with momma bear!

•    Anonymous said... Your spouse tries to educate her. If she persists, then she doesn't have access to your child any longer. It's that simple.

•    Anonymous said…  Sounds like your mother in law needs her attitude adjusted by means of an ass whoopin' herself. Rudeness and ignorance are not disabilties or medical conditions.

•    Anonymous said… Back in our early days we also had people of the same opinion, the day we started giving a smack was the day he started hitting us when he was upset or angry, all it did was teach him that's what you do when your cross. It took us close on 2 years to get him to stop.

•    Anonymous said… Change your ignorant mother-in- law!!!!

•    Anonymous said… Detach and protect your child.

•    Anonymous said… Detach... like Marisol said! I have had similar comments from family and it is heartbreaking. Not only because you are going through such intense emotional ups and downs but also having little support and understanding. We are the only ones who know what is best for our kiddos. Stay strong!!!!

•    Anonymous said… Educate her. Ask her to educate herself. Have her come to a doctors appointment with you and your son so the doctor can inform her. I'm sure you just suggesting these things to her will help her perspective on the matter.

•    Anonymous said… Either educate her or keep your child away

•    Anonymous said… Eliminate them from your inner circle. Reduce contact.

•    Anonymous said… Just think how quickly autism/Aspergers would be cured if beatings worked!

•    Anonymous said… Get her to Google autism....then she can babysit for a few days.

•    Anonymous said… grandparents are gold aren't they? I educated my parents by giving them tons of stuff to read. they stopped offering advice after that.

•    Anonymous said… Great advice. Thank you.

•    Anonymous said… I do spank my Aspie son well not anymore he is 13 BUT i also can tell a meltdown from just him being disobedient dont getting all judgmental I don't tell anyone how to raise there kids and I dont beat my son. I have the typical teenage behavioral issues but hes a doll at school and he knows how to act. Also he does not have ODD or any disorder such as so I think in my situation is fine. If you dont think thats what your child needs that OK and you could also tell them it has nothing to do with him being a ASPIE and you just disagree with spankings

•    Anonymous said… I think this is a common issue... Its so easy to sit on the other side of the fence and judge our patenting...

•    Anonymous said… I would try to give her info on it and let.her know she can either support you and your husband or keep her mouth shut cause its not helping the situation and its putting more stress on both the parents and child. I hate it when ppl try and tell you how you need to raise your child

•    Anonymous said… I'd Ban her from my home! Which is exactly what Iv done with mine! My Philosophy has become "If you don't accept my ASD Son for who he is ur not welcome in my home!" My Priority is my sons happiness not a MIL or anyone else who can't accept him!

•    Anonymous said… I'd say take him I. Will pick him up in two weeks . Good luck . She won't say it again also get some info leaflets leave them about . Xx

•    Anonymous said… Ignore them! Simple enough...

•    Anonymous said… It's a little unconventional, but I had a grandmother say this a few times and I finally said, "Go ahead! He's all yours, I'll pick him up in a few days. " She actually got quiet and never said it again. I love her and I know she loves me and him, she's just uninformed (like so many). Her biggest issue wasn't so much his behavior, but she was worried about me and my stress level. She'll still make comments here and there, but she's 91 so I let a lot slide.

•    Anonymous said… Mine just left after 6 days...she doesn't think we should offer any negative consequences and enables all his negative I can relate to not feeling supportive! I agree thT this person can't be in your inner circle and you can't trust them to supervise the child. We have opted to have minimal contact...lots via phone or emails with pictures...but minimal with actual presence so as to avoid added stress of her opinions to both of us and our son! Key is focus less energy on people like it at your child and your husband!!! You guys staying on the same page as parents is where the energy needs to go!!

•    Anonymous said… My mother feels the same way. I told her to get lost.

•    Anonymous said… My whole family thinks this about my son.

•    Anonymous said… Offer to smack the stupid out of her.... I have a special needs child with autism/Aspergers & I will not "spank it" out of him.

•    Anonymous said… Phahah some people!! Shes be wiped off my list of people I call family or friend straight away!! She needs to learn the right way to deal with an aspie and if not jog on!!

•    Anonymous said… Punitive punishment does not work on Aspies. She needs to buy a clue. What worked for our son when he was young ..was to lock him "out" of his room, hide the Nintendo (the original), and when he got older password protect the computer and up to and including disconnecting the internet.

•    Anonymous said… So many believe this. Sadly, I once did but I read alot & it just isn't the right way at all.

•    Anonymous said… Some of my family too. No stress people don't underatand and always have opinions when they spectators

•    Anonymous said… Spanking doesn't work. It like dealing with a permanent diagnosis everyday/24/7. It does not go away. You can use routine, schedules, and behavior therapy, and behavior modification. Now, I am 46 years old and normal. A spanking worked for me. To each its own. Spanking doesn't work for Aspies. It may work as a last resort for my others but not special needs. I believe in discipline as a last option for my others kids. I will go to every extreme to avoid a physical discipline. I turned out great.

•    Anonymous said… Tell her to read about Asperges children b4 she starts telling you how to bring your child up .sort her behaviour out b4 she stats to critisize you what a bitch she knows nothing.

•    Anonymous said… There is nothing to be done. The MIL isn't the parent, and while mom and dad can be kind and communicative with grandma, parenting the child is for the mom and dad. If you have differing opinions on how to handle things, that is ok.

•    Anonymous said… Wip the MIL.

•    Anonymous said… You can't spank the Autism out of a child (or any other learning/neurological difference for that matter either).

•    Anonymous said… You have to cut family like this off they don't make a good support net work! And you wouldn't ever trust them to take care of your child.

•    Anonymous said… You tell her if she is going to continue that way of thinking, she's not welcome around your family. That's what I would do. I have zero tolerance for ignorance and violence.

•    Anonymous said… Your MIL's philosophy is so misguided. I would not allow my child with her unsupervised. Shame on her.

•    She's very ignorant! The best thing you could do is actually find a very good book on the subject. Read it yourself and highlight things on it then pass it onto her to read! Hitting doesn't solve anything!

•    Anonymous said… When my MIL did this, my response was: "I live with your son, who has no respect for you and won't even visit. How'd that work for you?" Didn't shut her up, but I felt better about it.

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.

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...