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ASD Meltdown-Management: Key Points for Parents of Kids on the Autism Spectrum

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A meltdown is a condition where the youngster with ASD level 1, or High Functioning Autism, temporarily loses control due to  emotional responses to environmental factors . It generally appears that the youngster has lost control over a single and specific issue, however this is very rarely the case.  Usually, the problem is the accumulation of a number of irritations which could span a fairly long period of time, particularly given the strong long-term memory abilities of young people on the autism spectrum. Wh y T he Problems Seem Hidden— ASD   kids don't tend to give a lot of clues that they are very irritated: Often ASD child-grievances are aired as part of their normal conversation and may even be interpreted by NTs (i.e., neurotypicals, or people without autism) as part of their standard whining. Some things which annoy ASD kids would not be considered annoying to NTs, and this makes NT's less likely to pick up on a potential problem. Their facial expressions very often w

ASD Teenagers and "Homework-Related" Meltdowns: Tips for Frustrated Parents

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“My 14 yr. old daughter with ASD (level 1) basically refuses to do her homework. It’s a daily struggle that results in meltdown. Desperate ...please help! Any advice will be greatly appreciated.” As most parents already know, ASD level 1, or High Functioning Autism (HFA), disrupts the youngster’s academic abilities in multiple areas (e.g., a lowered tolerance for new situations or sudden transitions, lack of organizational skills, inconsistent energy levels, high distractibility, excessive interest in only one or two subjects to the exclusion of all others, etc.).  All of these can present challenges when attempting to complete homework. Fortunately, there are some basic strategies that moms and dads can undertake to help prevent those dreaded evening meltdowns related to homework. Let’s look at some specific strategies to help your HFA teenager follow through with completing homework… 1. Break-Down Large Assignments — Since some homework assignments can be overwhelming for kid

Preventing Meltdowns in Students with ASD: Advice for Teachers

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"Do you have any simple, 'cut-to-the-chase' advice I could share with my son's teacher (who seems to know very little about how to handle students on the autism spectrum who 'meltdown')? He is currently in the 6th grade and has a new teacher." Sure. Here goes... Students with ASD level 1, or High Functioning Autism (HFA), desperately need support from educators when they struggle with emotional and behavioral issues in school. Here are many helpful strategies that every teacher should know: HFA can co-exist with other disorders (e.g., ADHD, depression, anxiety). But mostly, this disorder affects the ability to socialize. These youngsters have difficulty recognizing facial expressions, sarcasm, and teasing, and struggle to adapt to unexpected changes in routine. Their interests tend to be very narrow, and this can limit their capacity to relate to others. Due to these struggles, kids on the autism spectrum oftentimes experience anger, fear, sa

Is it ASD, ADHD, or Both?

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"My 6-year-old son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 5. But now we are seeing signs that he may have 'high functioning' autism. What percentage of ADHD children also have autism? Is a dual diagnosis common?" Most kids with ASD level 1 (high functioning autism) don’t receive that diagnosis until after age 6. Usually, they are diagnosed with ADHD as toddlers. Part of the reason is that physicians routinely screen kids for ADHD but not for autism.    Another reason is that an ASD child's social impairment becomes more evident once he starts school. Finally, physicians are reluctant to label a youngster "autistic." It is okay - and even a badge of honor - to have a hyperactive youngster , but it is another thing entirely to have an autistic youngster . Physicians make their diagnoses based on the youngster’s behaviors. Since kids with ADHD and ASD share similar behaviors, the two can appear to overlap. However, there is a fundamental difference between th