References

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC Author. Asperger, H. (1944 1991). Autistic psychopathy in childhood. In U. Frith (Ed.), Autism and Asperger syndrome (pp. 37-92). New York Cambridge University Press. Bachevalier, J. (1994). Medial temporal lobe structures and autism A review of clinical and experimental findings. Neuropsychologia, 32, 627-648. Bailey, A., Le Couteur, A., Gottesman, I., Bolton, P., Simonoff,...

Treatments for Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism

As Seth's parents heard the psychologist say autism, they were engulfed in despair. But, the psychologist continued, there are some very good programs that have been developed to treat the exact kinds of problems Seth has. She handed them a slip of paper with a phone number written on it and encouraged them to call that very afternoon, saying, They will take care of you and Seth. Seth enrolled in this special education preschool just for children with autism that fall. He stayed in this program...

Sensory Integration Therapy

Some children with high-functioning autism and Asperger syndrome are overly sensitive to and easily overwhelmed by everyday sensations, such as certain sounds, tastes, textures, or smells, or by being touched. Their distress when encountering these sensations can be very intense. Parents sometimes describe the phenomenon as sensory overload. One young woman said that when she was bombarded by unwanted sounds, smells, and sights, her body would shut down. She described feeling completely...

Disclosure

If your child's symptoms lessen with age, as often happens, and if he or she branches out into new settings, the question of disclosure of your child's disorder will come up more and more often. At first you'll participate in the decision of whether or not to tell others that your child has AS-HFA. For example, it will be your call to determine whether or not to let the camp counselor, sports coach, or neighborhood parents know that your son or daughter has Asperger syndrome or high-functioning...

Strategies for Teaching Social Skills Outside the Clinic

Earlier we stressed the importance of addressing social issues in a group setting, since this is where social problems usually arise, and thus this is where your child needs to practice social behavior. We also emphasized that you should practice and support your child's emerging social abilities at home whenever possible and that social skills training in a clinic alone would not do much good. In the following sections, we describe a variety of resources and techniques for working on social...

Unusual Interests and Behaviors

The third area in which people with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders differ is behavior. You will probably have noticed that your child's range of activities is relatively focused and that he or she can do the same thing over and over again without getting bored. Among those with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism, these traits usually show up as very specific interests that verge on obsessions. These kids have the favorite pastimes that many children have computers, video...

Superior Academic Skills

Besides having strong memories for facts and other information, many children with AS-HFA have stronger than average academic abilities, typically in one or two specific domains. Advanced vocabulary is one example. Learning and using new or sophisticated words comes easily to some children with AS-HFA, as we've seen in many examples throughout this book. Spelling is another common strength. And many children with AS-HFA can sound out or sight-read words far beyond their own grade level...

Who Is Qualified to Diagnose Autism Spectrum Conditions

The types of professionals most often making such diagnoses are psychologists and psychiatrists, particularly those trained in childhood disorders. Other types of doctors, such as neurologists, pediatricians, and general practitioners (sometimes called family practice doctors), may also see your child for a diagnostic evaluation. Additionally, social workers are trained in the diagnostic process and how to use the DSM-IV, so they are qualified to make diagnoses. Other professionals, such as...

Strategies for Positive Discipline

As you may have experienced with your own child, many standard disciplinary methods don't work well with children who have autism spectrum disorders. Children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism may not have good self-monitoring skills and may lack the ability to judge whether their behavior is appropriate. They may not pick up on cues that normally would signal that their behavior does not fit in, and they may not feel the embarrassment or shame that many children experience when...

Medical Centers UniversitiesClinics

Autism Asperger Resource Center 4001 HC Miller Building 3901 Rainbow Boulevard Kansas City, KS 66160 Phone (913) 588-5988 Fax (913) 588-5942 Bradley Hospital Developmental Disabilities Program 1011 Veterans Memorial Parkway East Providence, RI 02915 Phone (401) 434-3400 The Center for Asperger's Assessment and Intervention The Center for Children with Special Needs 384-2 Merrow Road Tolland, CT 06084 Phone (860) 870-5313 Child Evaluation and Treatment Program The Connections Center 4120...

What about [Fill in the Blank Other Possible Causes

Over the years, a number of other causes of autism have been suggested. There is some evidence, although it is controversial, that infections during pregnancy or in the first years of life may contribute to the development of autism in a very small number of children. For example, studies in the 1960s and '70s found that approximately 10 of children exposed to the rubella virus in utero developed autism. Other studies found that infections with the herpes simplex virus, which can cause brain...

Individual Psychotherapy

Traditional psychotherapy can help some, but in our opinion a limited number of, individuals with AS-HFA. Generally, individual psychotherapy involves discussion of emotions and gaining insight into behavior patterns or interpersonal issues. Since most AS-HFA children, adolescents, and even adults have limited self-awareness, do not naturally make social comparisons, and often show little insight into the nature and reasons for their difficulties, this form of psychotherapy is often not very...

Communication Eloquent but Inarticulate

In addition to social difficulties, autism spectrum disorders usually involve communication problems. In fact, the most prominent feature of classic autism, at least in the minds of most people, is the inability to speak. What is less well understood is that even those with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism experience some difficulties with communication. This, it turns out, is one of the most confusing parts of the diagnostic puzzle and often leads to misdiagnoses when the child is...

The Strengths That Accompany the Challenges

Having Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism is not all bad. There are special gifts, talents, and inclinations that come along with the challenges and make your child a very special, unique, and interesting person. Many children and teens with these conditions have excellent memories. They remember details of family trips, routes around their city, or spelling lists effortlessly. Many also excel in reading. Like Joseph, they may teach themselves to read at an early age and later be able...

Self Awareness Self Esteem and Identity Development

Adolescence may be the first time that children with AS-HFA begin to form an identity by pondering questions like Who am I and Where do I fit in and What will I become These aspects of adolescent development pose a significant set of challenges for young people with AS-HFA. One such area is definition of self-concept. Research suggests that boys and girls use different strategies to determine their own self-concept. For girls, self-concept often relates to perceptions of physical...

Recognizing Order and Following Rules

People with AS-HFA often navigate the world by forming explicit rules or recognizing patterns about how things work, the ways people interact, and how events typically unfold. Parents are often amazed by their child's ability to analyze information and extract a set of patterns or rules by which something operates. One adolescent girl with AS-HFA commented that she noticed that one of the authors (G.D.) preferred clothing with horizontal stripes, whereas a coworker preferred clothing with...

Psychological Tests

Just as there are medical tests that are not diagnostic, but that are informative, so also there are behavioral or psychological tests that are not needed for the diagnosis but nevertheless can be very helpful in painting a complete picture of your child's strengths, weaknesses, treatment needs, and so forth. Probably the most common additional psychological testing that will be done during a diagnostic evaluation is an intelligence (or IQ) test. For verbal children over age 5, the test that is...

Visual Thinkng

Many people with AS-HFA are what we call visual thinkers, which gives them advanced skills in things like completing puzzles, reading maps, or quickly learning the layout of a building. In her book Thinking in Pictures, Dr. Temple Grandin describes translating words automatically into pictures. When someone speaks to her, their words are instantly transformed into a series of images that tell a visual story. She describes her thoughts as visual representations, rather than as the stream of...

Classroom Accommodationsand What Is a 504 Plan

As mentioned above, all is not lost if your child does not qualify for special education and an IEP. The Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a law that protects the civil and constitutional rights of people with disabilities. Section 504 of this law (since renamed the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA) mandates access to a free and appropriate public education for all people with disabilities. Disabilities are broadly defined in this legislation (more broadly than in IDEA, the special...

Chores and Household Responsibilities

Encouraging children to help around the home is a challenge for every parent, including those parenting children with AS-HFA. It is typical for children to dislike chores and to try their best to shirk these responsibilities in lieu of something more fun. To make chores more tolerable for a child with an autism spectrum disorder, embed them in a daily or weekly routine. This consistency will help your child know what needs to be done and prevent a chore from being an unwelcome surprise....

Hello Friend Now Go Away

Everyone diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder has trouble with social interchange, specifically with what we call reciprocity, the back-and-forth interactions that make up all social encounters. In the very remote, nonverbal children who have classic autism, reciprocity difficulties are obvious. In high-functioning children and adolescents with AS-HFA, however, reciprocity problems may be more subtle. Parents often describe a feeling of one-sidedness in interactions with their child....