The Candid Counselor

Helping individuals overcome anxiety, depression, and life's issues

Dr. Julia Becker


My Photo
Licensed Psychologist
Contact Me

Serving the greater Waco, TX area, including Woodway, Hewitt, Lorena, Bellmead, Robinson, and China Spring.

"My child was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome…Now What?"

Posted by Dr. Becker Monday, June 13, 2011

Parents want the best for their children. When a child is born, mom and dad imagine a future, make plans, and talk about all the wonderful adventures they will have with their child.

Rarely does this imagined future contain serious illnesses, learning disabilities, and major struggles. When a child is diagnosed with a mental or physical disability, parents are left trying to understand what this means for their child’s future and how they will cope with the difficulties. It is then that parents have to revise their plans for the child’s future and accept that the future may look different that they had planned.

Asperger’s Syndrome is a neurological condition that affects both children and adults. Common symptoms include difficulty with social functioning and communication, difficulty with emotional regulation and executive functioning, difficulty adapting to changes in routine, and obsessive interest in certain subjects. People with Asperger’s do not easily pick up on social signals and have a difficult time understanding things within a social context. As a result of these difficulties, they are often described as socially awkward.

Asperger’s is often diagnosed during childhood. There are several things parents should consider after their child is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome:

  • Individual counseling is often recommended for children with Asperger’s. Children may struggle with feelings of isolation and social anxiety. They may also experience high stress levels because they have to work harder than their peers to understand communication and social issues.
  • Many psychologists also refer their Asperger’s patients to social skills groups. Typically these groups consist of about 5-10 children close to the same age who have Asperger’s syndrome. Children receive social support by talking about their difficulties, and the group is also a place for children to practice social skills.
  • Parents can help buffer children’s stress by showing unconditional acceptance of the child. This acceptance is important when the child is teased or rejected by peers, or when the child says or does something socially inappropriate that embarrasses their parents. Instead of receiving sharp criticism, these children will benefit from gentle explanations of why the behavior was inappropriate, followed by a discussion of more appropriate alternative behaviors.
  • Because children with Asperger’s rely heavily on routines and predictability, they may have difficulty adapting to life changes. Such changes may include divorce, relocation, changing schools, and going away to college. Parents can help prepare their children for such changes by asking direct questions about their children’s concerns. Questions may include: “What are your biggest concerns or fears about this change?” “What do you hope things will be like after this change?” “How can I make this change easier for you?”
  • Finally, parents can consider seeking their own social support. Look for support groups for parents of children with Asperger’s or other disabilities. If there are no groups available, consider starting one yourself using meetup.com or another site. Parents may also benefit from individual counseling to learn to cope with feelings of sadness, anxiety, stress, and frustration that may come up.
Please visit Becker Counseling and Psychological Services for more information.

7 comments

  1. krouth Says:
  2. Thanks for your wonderful, informative article Dr. Becker!!!

     
  3. Dr. Becker Says:
  4. I'm glad this information was helpful to you!

     
  5. Hi Dr Becker,

    Just trying to learn a few things from you by going through your site. It is very informative and I would love to add you to my link. I am new to blogging (about 3 weeks to be precise), so I need to read up on how to do it first.

    One of the things I try to tell parents about Asperger's is that there is a good and bad side to everything in life. So being Asperger's can be helpful as long as you are aware of the strengths, and accept and manage the weaknesses. I often say to parents that a lot of my Surgical friends in the medical profession have some Asperger's Traits. They have a "emotionally detached" approach to life and this actually helps them to succeed in the field of surgery. Imagine if you are very empathetic and "feels" everyone's feeling, then how can you survive a day's work in the surgical theatre. You will probably be in a teary mess.....

    Some of the surgeons I know may not have the best "bed side manners", but I do trust them with regards to their surgical abilities and being a "good surgeon" for my patients.

    Hope this gives people a different angle on how they view people with Asperger's.

    Dr Vin
    Family Doctor Australia@

    www.doyouhavedepression.blogspot.com

     
  6. Dr. Becker Says:
  7. That is a very good point, Dr. Vin. There are many career opportunities for people with Asperger's. Giving parents and children hope for their future is a very important part of counseling.

     
  8. Anonymous Says:
  9. Good afternoon, my son has mild autism, he is the most amazing little boy that you can ever imagine, I have worked very hard with my son to get him where he is.. Im very proud of self and his teachers but i've had this question for some years, is it possible that i have autism and i dont know it and he got it from me??

     
  10. Dr. Becker Says:
  11. It is unusual for symptoms of autism to go unnoticed into adulthood. However, if you are noticing autism symptoms in yourself, you may want to be evaluated by a psychologist to determine if you have autism or Asperger's syndrome. Nobody knows exactly why some children develop autism. The research is still ongoing for that question.

     
  12. Thank you very much for your wonderful post. I like it and enjoyed to.
    Child Psychology

     

Post a Comment