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SSRI's To Treat Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism?

“Our doctor wants to start my son who has high functioning autism [Aspergers] on an SSRI. I have told the doc that I need to discuss this with my husband first. At this point, I am not feeling comfortable with my son being on drugs, but will be open to the idea if the advantages appear to outweigh the disadvantages. Not sure about the disadvantages though. Any insight will be wonderful. Thanks in advance.”

Medication can be an important part of treatment for some kids and teens on the autism spectrum.  However, medication should only be used as one part of a total treatment plan.  Ongoing evaluation and monitoring by your doctor is crucial.  Moms and dads should be provided with complete information when medication is recommended, and the child should be included in the discussion about medications, using words he understands. 



By getting answers to the following questions, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to start your son on an SSRI:
  1. Are there any activities that my son should avoid while taking the medication? Are any precautions recommended for other activities?
  2. Are there any laboratory tests (e.g. heart tests, blood test, etc.) that will need to be done before my son begins taking the medication?  Will any tests need to be done while he is taking the medication?
  3. Are there any other medications or foods, which my son should avoid while taking the medication?
  4. Are there interactions between this medication and other medications (prescription and/or over-the-counter) my son is taking?
  5. Does my son's school nurse need to be informed about this medication?
  6. How long will my son need to take this medication?  How will the decision be made to stop this medication?
  7. How will the medication help my son?  How long before I see improvement? When will it work?
  8. Is this medication addictive?  Can it be abused?
  9. What are the side effects which commonly occur with this medication?
  10. What do I do if a problem develops (e.g., my son becomes ill, doses are missed, or side effects develop)?
  11. What is known about its helpfulness with other kids who have a similar disorder to my son?
  12. What is the cost of the medication (generic vs. brand name)?
  13. What is the name of the medication?  Is it known by other names?
  14. What is the recommended dosage?  How often will the medication be taken?
  15. Will you (the doctor) be monitoring my son's response to this medication and make dosage changes if necessary?  How often will progress be checked?



FYI: Research has shown that SSRI medications can treat certain symptoms of Aspergers and high functioning autism. The notion is that an imbalance of neurotransmitters may lead to problems with mood and behavior in some children on the spectrum. However, the FDA reported that an extensive analysis of clinical trials showed that antidepressants may cause or worsen suicidal thinking or behavior in a small number of kids and teens.

The analysis showed that 4 percent of those taking antidepressants had an increase in suicidal thoughts, compared with 2 percent of those taking a sugar pill (placebo). None of the young people in any of the studies actually followed through with suicide. Nonetheless, the FDA considered the findings of enough concern that it issued a public health advisory and began requiring manufacturers to label antidepressants with strong warnings about the link to suicidal thinking and behavior in kids and teens.


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


==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Disclosing Your Child's Aspergers or HFA Diagnosis to Others




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


==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism 




COMMENTS: 

•    Anonymous said… I am not so quick to fully disclose the Aspergers/ADHD with teachers in grades higher than elementary school. Partial, yes, when needed. Why? Because in the hands of the right teacher, a disclosure is helpful and gives them information that helps the teacher support the weak areas of an HFA child. However, in the hands of the wrong teacher, the disclosure is used to belittle, berate, and bully the HFA child instead of providing the requested support.
•    Anonymous said… I agree with you but have seen the stigmatizing and bullying over and over again. The other thing I've seen is that with a "diagnosis" there is labeling. All this makes it tough to figure out the actual individual potential.
•    Anonymous said… Speaking as an elementary teacher with a lot of background and experience in cognitive impairment and learning disabilities and some with ASD, it is helpful to get information up front. Then I don't have to waste time reinventing the wheel, so to speak. I appreciate getting that insight from parents so that our partnership can begin immediately. And anyone who would berate, belittle, or bully ANY child has no right to call themselves a teacher.
•    Anonymous said… I have struggled with labeling my whole career and also as the sister of a developmentally disabled woman. I have made peace with it if the "label" allows the child to receive appropriate support.
•    Anonymous said… I've been a psychiatric professional for 35 years and watched my clients and their families struggle with labels. 3rd party payments demand labels but treatment and forward movement demand knowing the uniqueness of the needs of the individual.  It helps when teachers and friends understand that the label isn't the person.

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...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content