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Why Did Adam Lanza Murder Innocent Children?

"Why Did Adam Lanza Murder Innocent Children?"

There are two answers to this question: (1) we will never know what triggered Adam to do such a horrific act (i.e., the straw that broke the camel’s back), and (2) there were multiple factors involved.

Studies on violent crime committed by young people have increased our understanding of factors that make some populations more vulnerable to perpetration. Risk factors increase the likelihood that a young man (or woman) will become violent. However, risk factors are NOT direct causes of violent crime; rather, risk factors contribute to violent crime.

A complex interaction of factors leads to an increased risk of violent behavior in young people.  These factors include:

Community Risk Factors—
  • Socially disorganized neighborhoods
  • Low levels of community participation
  • High level of transiency
  • High level of family disruption
  • High concentrations of poor residents
  • Diminished economic opportunities

Social Risk Factors—
  • Social rejection by peers
  • School failure 
  • Poor academic performance
  • Low commitment to school
  • Lack of involvement in conventional activities
  • Involvement in gangs
  • Association with delinquent peers

Family Risk Factors—
  • Poor monitoring and supervision
  • Poor family functioning
  • Parental substance abuse or criminality
  • Low parental involvement
  • Low parental education and income
  • Low emotional attachment to parents
  • Harsh, lax or inconsistent disciplinary practices
  • Authoritarian child-rearing attitudes

Individual Risk Factors—
  • Antisocial beliefs and attitudes
  • Attention deficits
  • Conflict in the family 
  • Deficits in cognitive abilities
  • Deficits in information-processing abilities
  • Deficits in social abilities
  • Developmental disorders
  • Exposure to violence
  • High emotional distress
  • History of early aggressive behavior
  • History of treatment for emotional problems
  • History of violent victimization
  • Hyperactivity
  • Involvement with drugs, alcohol or tobacco
  • Learning disorders
  • Low IQ
  • Mental health issues
  • Obsession with violent media (e.g., movies, games)
  • Poor behavioral control

Other factors include:
  • Being the victim of physical abuse
  • Being the victim of sexual abuse
  • Brain damage from head injury
  • Exposure to violence in media 
  • Exposure to violence in the home or community
  • Genetic factors
  • Loss of support from extended family
  • Marital breakup
  • Poverty
  • Presence of firearms in home
  • Previous aggressive or violent behavior
  • Severe deprivation
  • Single parenting
  • Unemployment
  • Use of drugs or alcohol

So, as much as we want to get to the bottom of why this “senseless” shooting occurred, we will have to settle for the fact that there is no single answer to explain such a tragedy as the one that occurred on 12/14/12.

People are looking for "the" reason why this happened (e.g., mental illness), which is unfortunate, because then they will also go looking for "the" answer (e.g., gun control). But there is no one reason - or answer. This is a complex, multifaceted problem that calls for comprehensive, intricate problem-solving.

I believe that we, as a society, have now begun the process of doing the tough investigative work that needs to be done in order to save many more lives than we lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Most often, it takes the occurrence of a tragic event before we awaken from our slumber and begin the process of change. We may have lost 20 of our children on 12/14/12, but maybe because of them, we will end up saving more precious lives in the future than would be possible had this incident not occurred.

FOOTNOTE:  The authors of the earliest known review of the link between Aspergers and violence concluded that no such connection exists. In a more recent review, the determination was that the link is inconclusive and is supported by only 11 of 147 studies on Aspergers and violence when the strictest inclusion criteria are used. 

Noticing "Troubled" Aspergers Students Before Tragedy Occurs

To all parents of children and teens affected by Aspergers and High Functioning Autism:

There is someone who spends almost as much time with your child as you do. But, this person may not understand your child’s disorder and related symptoms. Also, this person may not pick up on subtle signs and signals that a particular child is becoming “troubled.” This person is your child’s teacher.

Make no mistake: I’m not blaming teachers for what happened on 12/14/12 (i.e., the Adam Lanza tragedy). But I strongly believe that one of the most important resources that we have to see to it that nothing like 12/14 ever happens again is our teachers. Even though there is growing awareness about autism spectrum disorders in the educational system, much misinformation and lack of information still exists. And this is where you, the parent, can help.

Please email your child’s teacher(s) with the link to this post…

Advise the teacher(s) that they can download the following eBook once, and then they have permission to print as many copies as they want: Teaching Students With Aspergers & High-Functioning Autism

It is hoped that they will print dozens of copies and disseminate throughout your entire local school system. If you child's teachers have any questions about this offer, please let them know they can email me personally (Mark Hutten, M.A. ==>

If a student with Aspergers or High Functioning Autism is going to deteriorate, this change for the worse usually begins when he or she enters the public school system. So in many ways, our first line of defense against having a “functional” child turn into a “troubled” child is our teachers. They must learn about this disorder and know how to deal effectively with the affected student in the classroom!

Online Parent Support, LLC


Thank you. How generous and kind of you. Truly, i appreciate what you are doing and am touched by your action to reach out and help. Like you, i hope i can help to educate others more about aspergers so that life is a little more manageable for them and so they can learn the skills to overcome challenges, be healthy emotionally, and live a happy and fulfilled life. I am a former elementary school principal and, sadly, aware of how poorly equipped many educators are to deal with such a diverse learner. There are great teachers out there who havent been trained enough. Its hard with the large numbers and demands of other responsibilities. I do understand this, but we have an urgent responsibility and duty to NOT let these students fall through the cracks. My daughter, an aspie, frequently goes unnoticed. She is quiet, well behaved, etc, but the inner, hidden frustration is so very great as she struggles with academics, feeling overwhelmed, not understanding so many things that other students learn naturally just by being immersed in the context and by observation alone. No one really sees this on the surface. 

Another thing that saddens me is the lack of emotional support for all students. Counselors are usually only part time and overloaded. The good ones intervene with students alone and in groups but others work traditionally with whole group classroom lessons and nice but unnecessary schoolwide activities. (the "feel-good stuff!) We need to use our resources, especially our wonderful mental health counselors, more wisely and prioritize our needs. We need funding and involvement that crosses the great divide btwn school and the outside community. Our efforts are oftentimes so disjointed. Just think of what we could do if everyone worked together - psychiatrists, schools, churches maybe,    Psychologists, etc.

Again, i thank you. You are helping a lot of people and the knowledge gained from you will just continue to grow exponentially as it is applied to and shared with others. 

As always, your article/link/mission, both timely and helpful.  Sincerest thanks and spreading the good word.  


•    Anonymous said... And this is why I homeschool!
•    Anonymous said... Hence why school never worked. So, learning at home and in the community it is. And it is wonderful.
•    Anonymous said... Home school all the way! It's not worth putting my son thru the torment of public school. I'll keep him at home to educate him & know what's going on. There fore he won't be bullied be other students & even some teachers.
•    Anonymous said... Home schooling was the best decision we made. I feel so bad for my son cause of what the school put him thru. Made him feel like something is wrong with him shame on them!!!
•    Anonymous said... I agree with protecting your child - i removed mine from public and placed him into private - he's blossomed there and is SO happy to be with kids like him finally!!! He has never tried to stay home ONCE since being in the new school.. I considered home school but I also had to consider his social skills - and keeping him home/sheltered would have been such a detriment to building important life skills that he can only learn while being in school.... Also it's vitally important to ensure the child is receiving a proper education too.... I hope for the child's sake they are receiving tutors if the parents aren't suitable to teach as a certified teacher would. After reading some posts - here and other sites, some parents can't speak proper English - let alone spell it!! So can you IMAGINE what the child is learning - or isn't I should say.... Love your baby first and foremost - the rest will all work out
•    Anonymous said... just reminds me once again why I made the decision to home education my high functioning teenage daughter - one year in secondary school did enough damage that has taken us 9 months to slowly get her to recover from.
•    Anonymous said... My son has the best & most supportive teacher - i believe its up to you as a parent to inform the school & keep in the loop…
•    Anonymous said... One of the reasons I am homeschooling now is the teachers were not interested in understanding my son
•    Anonymous said... Until schools get rid of tenure and can fire bad teachers, our students will suffer (a former teacher who saw too many bad eggs). Luckily our school staff is wonderful, helps him learn social skills and use resources to stop the bullying. But it is still a game of wills if I want to switch teachers mid-year. Luckily he is on the staff's radar.

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Learning Your Child’s “Triggers”: Help for Destructive Behavior in Kids on the Autism Spectrum

"We are in need of some strategies to curb our son's destructive behaviors, which usually vacillates between periods of being quiet and withdrawn to periods of full out tantrumming (yelling, throwing things)."

Destructive behavior (e.g., hitting and kicking, throwing objects, damaging property, screaming, etc.) is common in some kids with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). This type of behavior can be disturbing and possibly dangerous, and requires a specific parenting approach as well as additional supervision to ensure the safety of everyone involved. 
Since children on the spectrum do not respond well to traditional disciplinary strategies, parents must come up with an approach that doesn't accidentally reward unwanted behavior.

While the disorder is incurable, learning and development is possible with the proper treatment and education. Moms and dads should embrace early intervention opportunities whenever possible, as these can help kids develop strategies for dealing with some of the more challenging behaviors associated with Aspergers and HFA. In addition to developing coping mechanisms for destructive behavior, early intervention can help provide a greater degree of independence as these youngsters get older.

Kids on the autism spectrum generally have specific “triggers” that signal danger or disruption to their feelings of comfort and security. These young people tend to develop their own “cues” in response to these trigger events (i.e., warning signals that parents can “read” to understand that the youngster is having difficulty).  These cues may include any of the following:
  • becoming quiet or withdrawn
  • changes in speech patterns
  • complaining
  • exhibiting a fear or avoidance response
  • facial expressions
  • feeling ill
  • getting irritable
  • nervous tics
  • sweating

When parents anticipate these triggers or observe these cues, they should provide assurance, support and attention as quickly as possible. If parents miss these cues, kids on the spectrum may escalate their behavior to a point where they completely lose control.  
==> How to Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Because parents and teachers see kids in different situations, it is essential that they work together to share information about triggers and cues. This is best done on a regular basis (e.g., during the IEP meeting or a periodic review meeting) rather than in response to a crisis. However, when a crisis does occur, those who work with the youngster should meet to briefly discuss specific concerns and how to best address his/her needs in the current situation.

Tips for reducing and eliminating destructive behavior in children on the autism spectrum:

1. Aspergers and HFA kids have difficulties with social skills and self-management, and will need instruction in anger-control, tolerance of individual differences, and self-monitoring.

2. Children with the disorder interpret very literally; therefore, moms and dads need to choose their words carefully to insure their youngster will not misinterpret what they are trying to get across.

3. Consider changing your child’s diet. A gluten-free/casein-free diet is a popular diet for aggressive kids on the spectrum. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and some oats, and casein is a protein found in milk.

4. Eliminate sensory issues. If your youngster has sensory issues that are overwhelming, he can become aggressive. Loud noises, bright lights, lots of people, and irritating touches often cause problems for some of these young people An occupational therapist can help by doing a Sensory Profile to determine if your youngster has any sensory defensiveness.

5. Food allergies are an often overlooked cause of destructive behavior. Some children may have red ears, red cheeks, or dark circles under their eyes. These are often signs of food allergies. Some of the symptoms associated with food allergies are headaches, tantrums, feelings of nausea, difficulty concentrating, and stomach aches. As a result, the youngster is less tolerant of others and is more likely to act out. Since many of these kids also have poor communication skills, parents may not be aware that their son or daughter is not feeling well. The youngster should be tested if food allergies are suspected. If the child tests positive for certain foods, then these products should be eliminated from the diet.

6. Give your child the opportunity and space to calm down when he’s upset. If he needs to release some physical energy, find some non-destructive activities he can engage in.

7. Let your youngster know he can count in his head until the negative feeling goes away. This will help him realize that eventually the feeling does start to alleviate on its own, even if he doesn’t act on it.

8. Make sure your youngster understands that, while you understand he gets frustrated sometimes, destroying property is not acceptable – not in your home, or in the rest of the world either. Be clear in your expectations and what the consequences will be if he does destroy property.

9. Many children with the disorder can be helped to comprehend behavior they observe - but poorly understand - through the use of “social stories.” The parent’s explanation of what is happening can be reduced to a social story. A storybook can then be kept by the youngster to help reinforce the information on a concrete, basic level. 
==> Parenting System that Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder

10. Many parents are giving their autistic kids safe nutritional supplements, such as Vitamin B6 with magnesium and Di-methyl-glycine (DMG). Nearly half have reported a reduction in behavioral problems as well as improvements in their youngster’s general well-being.

11. Moms and dads often feel furious when their youngster damages or destroys property. This is understandable. Property destruction is a personal violation, and it hurts to have a son or daughter treat something that you’ve worked hard for with such little respect. But, once you make up my mind that you will hold your child accountable for anything he purposely destroys, making sure he pays for things by controlling the money you usually chose to spend on him, you won’t feel as angry. You will be able to respond more calmly, because you know he will be held accountable. And once he learns that he pays for the damages, it may only take a few times for him to choose to handle things differently.

12. Often times, a behavior problem is a reaction to a request or demand made by parents. The child may have learned that he can escape or avoid such situations (e.g., doing chores or homework) by acting out. A functional assessment of the child’s behavior (i.e., antecedents, consequences, context of the behavior) may reveal certain relationships between the behavior and the function the behavior serves. If avoidance is the function the behavior serves, parents should follow through with all requests and demands they make to the child. If the child is able to escape or avoid such situations, even only some of the time, the behavior problem will likely continue.

13. Remember that any change in routine may result in emotional or behavioral upset. If the youngster’s environment must be changed (e.g., the absence of a parent), try to maintain as much of the normal routine as possible (e.g., meals, play, bedtime) in the new environment.  In addition, try to bring concrete elements from the youngster’s more routine environment (e.g., a toy, blanket, game, etc.) into the new environment to maintain some degree of “sameness” or constancy.

14. Some kids break their own things when they’re upset or angry. If your youngster gets angry, throws his iPad and it breaks, the natural consequence is that he no longer has an iPad. Don’t buy him a new one!

15. Talk with your youngster during a calm moment about things he can do instead of breaking things when he gets upset.

16. Teach your youngster to use journaling, music, drawing, clay, or any other non-destructive activity he might be interested in to release feelings.

17. Try behavior intervention. Behavior specialists work with kids who have difficult and aggressive behaviors. They observe them in their environments to determine the underlying cause of the behaviors.

18. Your job as a mother or father is to prepare your youngster for the “real world.” In the real world, if you destroy property, there are consequences (e.g., financial, legal, etc.). You want to respond to your youngster’s destructive behavior in a way that leaves no doubt about what he will experience should he engage in this behavior outside your home.

19. It is important to consider the child’s level of arousal when formulating a strategy to treat behavioral problems:
  • Over-arousal. Sometimes behavioral problems occur when the child is overly-excited. This can occur when the child is anxious and/or when there is too much stimulation in the environment. In these cases, treatment should be aimed at calming the child.
  • Under-arousal. Behavioral problems may be due to a low level of arousal, such as when the child is passive or bored. Behaviors such as aggression and destructiveness may be exciting, and thus appealing to some of these kids. If parents suspect behavior problems are due to under-arousal, the child should be kept busy or active.

20. If all else fails, it may be necessary to try medication to reduce destructive behavior. Discuss medication with your youngster’s doctor, neurologist or behavior specialist. Determine as a team the best approach to treating him with the proper medication. Keep in mind that medication is not necessarily permanent, and if it doesn't work, just stop it.

•    Anonymous said... After many years and many different approaches, my 16 year old son with aspergers is finally learning to use words instead of fists! It isn't always perfect, but it is so much better.
•    Anonymous said... And DMG if others have had success. Son take 3meds but would like to think there is hope he could ween off prescription meds and with the therapy he is receiving g and maturation.....he could get by with less Rx' s.
•    Anonymous said... Curious...why the B6? Has anyone tried that, with positive results?
•    Anonymous said... Ditto everything Ms Musgrave said. Our 17 yr old was diagnosed at age 13-14, and now seems to be on a better path after yrs of anxiety and stress on both him and I. Would also be curious about the B6 and
•    Anonymous said... I have tried B6 with my son and it gave my son horrible nightmares to the point he would keep himself awake. I researched the vitamin to find out that it is actually a normal reaction. Everyone is different, I know this, but I want to give a heads up to anyone wanting to try it.
•    Anonymous said... It is so true about the disciplinary actions that parents try to enforce. They often work on other siblings, but when it comes to an Asperger child you are pretty much at a loss. Some people often say, well have you done this or try this. I know they think they are trying to help, but unless you have an Asperger child, you have no idea what parents go through every single day. School is a another story...most teachers don't know what to do with an Aspergers child, some have never heard of Aspergers Syndrome. So we battle with the education portion of trying to teach teachers about Aspergers and how Aspergers children respond and act about different things and also dealing with other students that have no idea what's going on. We have three very special boys, one is just extra special. Just a day in the Musgrave life...just keep praying.
•    Anonymous said... So important
•    Anonymous said... Will has ADHD and is doing so much better now. Much more comfortable in himself. That is a big adjustment too.

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What Your High-Functioning Autistic Child Is Likely To Face As An Adult

Moms and dads with children on the spectrum understandably want to know how their kids will cope in the future. However, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) occur across a wide range of strengths and weaknesses, so making an accurate prognosis is difficult, particularly at a young age.

Even though the range of outcomes for kids on the spectrum is so broad, the possibility of relatively normal functioning in adolescence and adulthood offers hope to many moms and dads of kids with ASD. The possibility of permanent “recovery” from ASD (in the sense of eventual attainment of social and cognitive skills) has been raised in association with a number of educational and treatment programs.

Studies have revealed that there are some kids who have symptoms of ASD in early preschool years who do not have these symptoms in any obvious form in later years. Whether these improvements reflect (a) developmental pathways of very mildly affected kids, or (b) changes in developmental pathways in response to treatment, is not known.

==> Launching Adult Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

The “core deficits” in ASD have generally been found to persist in some degree in most people on the spectrum. Although there is evidence that interventions lead to improvements, and that some ASD kids shift specific diagnoses within the spectrum, there is not a direct relationship between any particular intervention and recovery from ASD. Because there is always room for hope, recovery will often be a goal for many young people with ASD, but in terms of planning services and programs, educational objectives must describe specific behaviors to be acquired or changed.

Research on outcomes can be characterized by whether:
  • goals are short term (i.e., to be achieved in a few weeks or months) or long term (i.e., several years)
  • the goal of an intervention is broadly defined (e.g., best outcome) or more narrowly defined (e.g., increasing peer-related social skills)
  • the study design involves reporting results in terms of individual or group changes

A large body of single-subject research has demonstrated that many ASD kids make substantial progress in response to specific intervention techniques in relatively short time periods (e.g., several months). These gains occur in many specific areas (e.g., social skills, nonverbal communication, reductions of challenging behaviors, etc.). Often the most rapid gains involve increasing the frequency of a behavior already in the youngster’s repertoire, but not used as broadly as possible (e.g., making eye contact). In single-subject reports, changes in some form are almost always documented within weeks after the intervention has begun.

Many treatment studies report post-intervention placement as an outcome measure. Successful participation in regular education classrooms is an important goal for many kids with ASD. However, its usefulness as an outcome measure is limited because placement may be related to many variables other than the characteristics of the youngster (e.g., prevailing trends in inclusion, availability of other services, the parent’s preferences, etc.).

The most commonly reported outcome measure in group treatment studies of kids with ASD have been IQ scores. Studies have reported substantial changes in IQ scores in a surprisingly large number of kids in intervention studies and in longitudinal studies in which kids received nonspecific interventions. However, even in the treatment studies that have shown the largest gains, the youngsters’ outcomes have been variable, with some making great progress and others showing small gains. Overall, while much evidence suggests that education and treatment can help ASD kids attain short-term goals in targeted areas, gaps remain in addressing larger questions of the relationship between particular techniques and both general and specific changes.

==> Launching Adult Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the percentage of ASD kids who can attend school in a typical classroom and go on to live independently in community settings. While it is more likely that a higher-functioning youngster will progress faster and further than a lower-functioning one, every son or daughter with ASD grows and progresses. Many ASD kids far exceed doctors' expectations, and a significant percentage of these children actually lose their official ASD diagnosis. Some improve slowly and to a limited degree, while others improve quickly at first and then seem to hit a plateau, or develop issues (e.g., a mood disorder) which inhibit ongoing improvement. Also, there is no "window of opportunity" for growth and development. Kids with ASD don't suddenly stop progressing at a particular age. In fact, even grown-ups on the spectrum can benefit significantly from behavioral therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy.

Kids with High-Functioning Autism may see a lessening of symptoms as they mature, and up to 20% may no longer meet the diagnostic criteria as grown-ups (although social and communication difficulties may persist). People with High-Functioning Autism appear to have normal life expectancy, but have an increased prevalence of comorbid conditions (e.g., major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder) that may significantly affect prognosis. Although social impairment is life-long, the outcome is generally more positive than with people on the lower end of the spectrum.

Although most children with High-Functioning Autism have average mathematical ability and test slightly worse in mathematics than in general intelligence, some are gifted in mathematics. Although many attend regular education classes, some may utilize special education services because of their social and behavioral difficulties.

Teens with High-Functioning Autism may exhibit ongoing difficulty with self-care or organization, and disturbances in social and romantic relationships. Despite high cognitive potential, some young people with High-Functioning Autism remain at home, although most do marry and work independently.

The "being different" that these teens experience can be troubling. Anxiety may stem from preoccupation over possible violations of routines and rituals (e.g., being placed in a situation without a clear schedule or expectations, concern with failing in social encounters, etc.), and the resulting stress may manifest as inattention, withdrawal, obsessions, hyperactivity, and aggressive or oppositional behavior. Depression is often the result of chronic frustration from repeated failure to engage others socially. Research suggests the rate of suicide may be higher among those with High-Functioning Autism.

All kids on the spectrum have different strengths and weaknesses compared to “typically developing” kids. For example, even if your son or daughter never learns to write in cursive, he may have impressive technical skills. In any event, age at intervention has a direct impact on outcome. The earlier a youngster is treated, the better the prognosis will be.

So what can parents expect to happen when their child with High-Functioning Autism (Asperger’s Syndrome) becomes an adult?

1. Grown-ups with High-Functioning Autism are a minority among the ASD community, making up just a small percentage of those diagnosed with ASD. Since their numbers are so small in relation to the ASD community as a whole, the resources and information relevant to grown-ups with High-Functioning Autism can be much less prevalent than those geared towards kids, teens and adults with more severe forms of ASD. In addition, some grown-ups with High-Functioning Autism feel their struggles discounted by many in the ASD community as being insignificant compared to the hardships faced by those more profoundly challenged. These factors and others combine to make many with High-Functioning Autism feel isolated from the ASD community, their concerns and struggles marginalized by the majority.

2. ASD awareness has risen dramatically over recent years, resulting in more information and resources available to address the needs of the ASD community. Kids with High-Functioning Autism certainly benefit from these resources, with access to necessary intervention services from infancy and throughout the schooling years. On the other hand, grown-ups with High-Functioning Autism can fall between the cracks of today's safety net of ASD resources and services, their symptoms seen as too mild to qualify them for the support received by more severely affected individuals.

==> Launching Adult Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

3. Even the most mildly affected among people with ASD face challenges in managing their condition. For example, those with High-Functioning Autism are statistically more prone to depression than the average guy or gal, and low self-esteem and loneliness are common problems. Affordable resources to address these issues can be hard to find, especially in grown-ups for whom these issues have made keeping a job difficult. Added to that is the fact that less severe symptoms can make applications for medical and psychological assistance less likely to be approved.

4. Grown-ups with High-Functioning Autism face the unique challenge of straddling the fence between the ASD community and the community at large, often feeling as if they don't quite fit in with either. The term High-Functioning Autism is used to describe people who meet the criteria for a diagnosis on the spectrum, but show no cognitive delays, and are able to speak, read and write, as well as have IQ scores of average or above. Those with High-Functioning Autism do suffer difficulties in communication, language, and social interaction typical of Autistic Disorder, as well as repetitive behaviors and narrow interests associated with the condition. Abstract language concepts, (e.g., irony and humor) may well be beyond the comprehension of adults with High-Functioning Autism.

5. Many individuals with High-Functioning Autism are able to blend into society as well as anyone, learning to manage their condition to build successful and independent lives. Many find their niche in society quite nicely, with satisfying careers, successful marriages, fulfilling friendships, and active social lives. To the average person, untrained in the subtleties of ASD, these high-functioning individuals may not seem as if they have any autistic traits, sparing them the assumptions and prejudices faced by those with symptoms that are more obvious. Others have more difficulty establishing themselves, finding that their challenges in social awareness and communication create issues that can make independent living difficult. Often, people with High-Functioning Autism are misunderstood by those who lack experience with ASD, and their lack of social awareness and interaction may be construed as rude behavior. Symptoms (e.g., inability to maintain eye contact during conversation) can make job interviews and establishing friendships difficult, as some individuals often misinterpret the behavior as dishonesty or a lack of interest.

6. Many grown-ups with High-Functioning Autism face an uphill battle in establishing lasting personal relationships, facing the same misconceptions in personal friendships as in workplace ones. Actions that result from a lack of understanding of non-verbal cues (e.g., body language, facial expression, etc.) can leave people with the impression that adults with High-Functioning Autism are self-absorbed and selfish.

7. Steady employment can be a challenge to some high-functioning individuals. While workers with High-Functioning Autism are very often extremely bright, focused, and talented employees, the social aspects of the workplace can be their undoing. Workplace camaraderie can be unfamiliar territory for those with social interaction difficulties, the small talk and humor beyond their grasp. Co-workers who are not aware of the difficulties faced by those with High-Functioning Autism may see them as odd due to behavioral symptoms, or too serious, aloof, or arrogant because of the social awkwardness that accompanies the condition. These misunderstandings can breed resentments among co-workers, causing dismissals by employers in order to keep peace in the workplace.

8. While ASD research and management has improved by leaps and bounds over recent years, many of the difficulties faced every day by people with High-Functioning Autism make it clear that much more work lies ahead. Both in the ASD community and in mainstream society, lack of education and misunderstandings abound, leaving many of those affected by High-Functioning Autism feeling stranded, with one foot planted in each world – but truly at home in none.

 Audrey said...
I really find numbers 3, 4, and 5 affect my is tough never really fitting into either camp- not fully autistic and not fully NT...people assume either way and I am finding myself less inclined to actually explain anymore. I find being an adult with AS enriching and also heartbreaking depending on the circumstance. Luckily for me I have supportive husband, kids and best friend but there is still that invisible line. Thanks for writing this. Even though I felt like crying a bit because unfortunately most is true, it was also strangely validating and I felt less alone at the same time:) ( If I commentated before and it went through just erase one...I thought it did not go through...)

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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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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