Finding out that your child has Asperger’s syndrome will redefine your parenting roles. The condition would entail acceptance of the possible challenges for yourself as a parent, for your child with Asperger and the whole family. The good thing is more than ever, there are therapies, support group and forums to help the child as well as the family to lead fulfilling lives despite the condition.
Asperger’s Syndrome is often labeled as high functioning autism which to some extent dismissing the significant characteristics of the condition. Asperger’s Syndrome was included in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1994 separate from the autism however by 2013, the body decided to redefine autism, Asperger’s syndrome and other developmental disorder to an umbrella diagnosis, autism spectrum disorder. The redefinition made a collection of accurate data about Asperger’s Syndrome complicated since conditions are at times diagnosed autism, autism spectrum or as Asperger’s Syndrome. Diagnosis of the condition is not easy since there is no standardized screening. As read also from BabyCenter, the condition is usually diagnosed during childhood, but there are some instances where adults are diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Most of the time, these adults seek medical treatment for other issues such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Unlike autism, children with Asperger’s syndrome don’t have developmental delays and hardships which is why it’s coined as high-functioning autism. Interestingly, children with Asperger’s have high IQ and can learn new things without any difficulty. The condition affects the child’s social skills, communication abilities and behavior range.
“People with ASD are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” –Eva A. Mendes LMHC
Experts recommended these parenting tips to help your child in the long run (more details available at Parents.com).
Develop practical social skills
Children with this condition have problems with social interaction because of their inability to understand subtle body language and tone of voice. Thus, they would miscalculate and misread specific situation appearing to be awkward and socially inappropriate. Parents should teach their children on how to identify social cues and body language. Moreover, they might need practice with regards to appropriate social distance and eye contact. As Marlene Driscoll, MA, LMFT explains, “More recently there has been a greater emphasis upon social skills awareness and skills to independently navigate the social world. This change is in response to the widening of the diagnostic criteria, allowing for the identification of a greater number of individuals with social skill and social understanding impairments.”
Teach them problem-solving skills
To enhance the child’s problem-solving skills give them scenarios and help them identify what’s wrong in different situations. Through this method, they will learn about cause and effect and power of actions. Parents should also bear in mind that there are different ways to solve a problem and children with Asperger’s need to practice it as often as possible. Incorporate these problem-solving skills exercises in daily life activities.
Work on their self-awareness
To manage emotions effectively a good grasp of self- awareness is necessary. Help your child in developing different strategies for coping. It is best to start with identifying feelings in the unusual situation. Lastly, make sure that your child knows how to manage anxiety and stress to halt a possible meltdown.
Develop a routine for your child
“The autism diagnosis itself is often traumatic for parents. It can be a grueling process that may take up to a year or more, with multiple visits to several different professionals.” Janeen Herskovitz, MA, LMHC said. Similar to autism, children with Asperger’s Syndrome thrive on predictability, structure, and routine. Structure a method will remain constant and unchanged day by day. Always ask the input of the child so that they feel it is their schedule and not something imposed on them. Take into consideration downtimes and transition activities.