Treatment for Asperger’s

Many parents of children and teens diagnosed with Asperger’s or higher-verbal autism spectrum diagnoses are under the assumption that because their child does well academically they will be successful upon graduating high school because of their intelligence and academic ability.  Unfortunately, as research has shown this is not the case.

Individuals with Asperger’s often struggle significantly after they leave the safety and comfort of high school or college because they lack the independence, resiliency and social competency to be employable.

We teach concrete skills that individuals with Asperger’s/higher-verbal ASD need to develop in order to form social relationships and become independent, employable adults.  We provide parents with strategies to help cultivate their child’s resiliency, social competency and executive functioning. 

Common characteristics of the individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s we work with:

Social Skills

  • Has participated in one or more social skills groups or individual therapy but was not able to generalize what they learned
  • Says they have friends online yet knows little to nothing about them
  • Anxious to approach or initiate conversations with same-age peers
  • Feels more comfortable communicating with younger people or adults than similar-age peers
  • Spends most of their free time alone, playing video games or surfing the internet
  • Tends to have one-sided conversations, talks about himself/herself or their interests
  • Frequently interrupts others or says things impulsively
  • Lacks an interest in peers or doesn’t understand what is enjoyable about spending time with them
  • Can be highly inflexible, often says “No” to anything new
  • Labels other kids diagnosed with ADHD/Asperger’s as “annoying or  “weird” yet despite the fact he comes across the same
  • Has a propensity to “find the negative” in experiences others would find enjoyable
  • Trouble understanding social cues and non-verbal communication (facial expressions and body language)
  • Lacks understanding how they are perceived by others
  • Has significant difficulty understanding other’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions
  • Difficulty asking for help or self-advocating
  • Tendency to be indecisive and overdependent on parents
  • Desires romantic relationships but does not understand how they develop
  • Likes to “talk at ” people about their interests

Executive Function Skills

  • Has a hard time sensing the passage of time
  • Difficulty managing self-care tasks without reminders (hygiene, sleep)
  • Tremendous difficulty completing non-preferred tasks (avoids, procrastinates, etc.)
  • Easily overwhelmed and prone to anxiety during unstructured times
  • Chronically disorganized, forgets or looses materials
  • Under or over-estimates how long it will take to complete assignments
  • Has a hard time recalling how they performed a task in the past
  • Difficulty with future planning
  • Has a hard time self-monitoring themselves and their schedule
  • Becomes easily distracted and/or wastes time with trivial matters
  • Focuses on small details and has a hard time getting the “bigger picture”
  • Has a messy room/messy school backpack
  • Completes homework but forgets to turn it in

Emotional Regulation Skills

  • Indecisive and over-dependent on their parents
  • Has a negative reaction to anything new or unfamiliar
  • Propensity to be inflexible and likes to be in control
  • Perseverates on the negative and has trouble letting go of things that bother him
  • Becomes anxious when there is change in routine or around transitions
  • Has trouble differentiating between what is a “small problem” or “big problem”
  • Does not express emotions in an age-expected manner
  • Tries to avoid any non-preferred tasks
  • Does not understand how their tone of voice sounds to others
  • Speaks too loudly
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Can keep themselves regulated while at school but takes it out on parents after school

If you son is diagnosed with Asperger’s it is important to be proactive about getting him help.  His social, executive functioning and independent skills will not simply improve with age.  He needs to learn practical skills and strategies.

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