Coping with Aspergers Syndrome and its Effects on the Family

Having a child diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome (AS), also referred to as Asperger's Disorder, undoubtedly affects every member of the household as well as the marriage or relationship of the parents or primary caregivers.

And while stress is something all parents must face and deal with on a regular basis, when a family is coping with Asperger's Syndrome those feelings can be maximized and compounded with the unique stressors the condition may cause.

Although exact treatment methods will depend upon variables such as IQ and level of functioning, there are still a number of simple yet important things families and parents can do when it comes to managing the behavior caused by Asperger's Syndrome beginning with learning as much as possible about this medical condition.

More common in boys than in girls, Asperger's Syndrome is largely considered to be a highly functioning type of autism whose cause is unknown although genetic factors are thought to be involved.

Asperger's Syndrome causes symptoms that include difficulties interacting with others socially along with having delayed motor functions. Other symptoms may include making repetitive movements, a preoccupation with specific items or areas of interest, and having a lack of emotion.

Children with AS often have higher than average IQs and possess normal verbal skills but are unable to express themselves in the usual manner. These children are often singled out by their peers as being "strange" or "odd" and therefore will need special attention in this area as they usually want to "fit in" but are unable to do so.

Help your child to learn social cues including simple things such as conversing with others or maintaining eye contact, two skills that are incredibly difficult for those with AS to master.

Also, regularly offering a safe and predictable environment with ordinary daily routines can help your child focus, concentrate, and function at a higher level.

Educating people about Asperger's Syndrome is the ideal way of helping others to help your child as most children with the condition will have no outward signs of a disability. Alerting parents, teachers, and coaches as well as older children about your child's condition can help to narrow the gap that exists between those with AS and the rest of the world.

Nurturing your marriage when parenting a child with AS. It's imperative to reach out to others for support when parenting a child with Aspergers Syndrome. In addition to resources in your local community for networking with other families affected by the condition, the Internet is chock full of discussion boards, forums, and groups devoted to parenting children with Asperger's.

Many families struggle with issues such as time constraints, social outings, and ordinary aspects of daily life such as bedtime or mealtime and because of all this, parents often have difficulty finding time to be alone to nurture their own relationship.

Although many parents feel that no one else would be able to take care of their child the way they do it's important for them to delegate and rely upon trusted family members and friends in order to avoid burnout and becoming overwhelmed by the rigors of day to day life.

Even just a few moments each day can make a real difference when it comes to coping with the maladaptive behaviors typical of Asperger's Syndrome and keeping the lines of communication open between parents.

Something as simple as taking a daily walk after dinner or taking a bike ride through the neighborhood can work wonders for parents struggling with all of the usual aspects of life along with coping with AS.

Some parents choose to seek individual or family counseling while others become active in their local chapter of autism or Asperger's groups.

In addition to taking time to be together and just enjoy each other's company, parents of children with Aspergers Syndrome also need to remember to praise and reward each other for everything they are doing to help keep the family unit strong.

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