Autism Articles

Helping Someone with Asperger Syndrome Bridge the Gap between Cognitive and Emotional Empathy

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Helping Someone with Asperger Syndrome Bridge the Gap between Cognitive and Emotional EmpathyEmpathy is a controversial subject in the field of Asperger Syndrome/neurotypical relationships. The theory of mind postulates that people with Asperger Syndrome have some degree of mind blindness, or an inability to fathom the motivations and feelings of others. Aspies don’t seem to read the social clues that tell NTs (neurotypicals) what is going on.

For example, Aspies are notoriously poor at recognizing complex emotions in others. They struggle to understand that someone may be stretching the truth for emphasis or as the punch line to a joke. They are confused by irony, pretense, metaphor, deception, faux pas, white lies and so forth. This is why NTs find Aspies to be clueless in social situations and why there are all types of curricula on the subject of teaching Aspies how to navigate the social world.

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC

Friday, November 21st, 2014

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC: Part 1In Massachusetts — supposedly one of the most enlightened and liberal states you can live in in our fine United States — a facility is engaged in a horrifying business. Some have even call it state-sanctioned torture on American soil.

They degrade human beings daily, calling it a form of “treatment.”

They do this regardless of the lack of scientific evidence on the treatment (outside a few flimsy studies published by the facility’s former disgraced director, Matthew Israel). They do it even when important safeguards were lacking for years.

Yes, I’m talking about the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts. And yet another survivor from that institute is speaking out.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness 2014 Conference

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

program-coverThe 2014 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Convention in Washington, D.C. in September was, by any measure, a huge success. Mingling with consumers, family members, mental health advocates, and a wide range of mental health providers, I couldn’t help but be swept up in the atmosphere of expectation that often permeates these annual gatherings.

A stellar lineup of guest speakers spoke passionately about their particular battles with mental illness. Both a female celebrity and a former U.S. Congressman from a famous American family shared their struggles with bipolar disorder.

A Virginia state senator told of his beloved son’s final, desperate act — the heartbreaking result of a failed delivery system that denied his son an inpatient bed in a time of obvious need.

Free Webinar: Asperger’s in Love: From Helplessly Confused to Head-Over-Heels

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Free Webinar: Asperger's in Love: From Helplessly Confused to Head-Over-HeelsLearn about the challenges of Aspergian relationships and find solutions with Alina Kislenko, an Aspie therapist who works with couples with at least one Aspergian partner.

People with Asperger’s (AS) experience several common issues in relationships, including lack of demonstrated empathy at expected times, trouble integrating with in-law friends and family, unique needs that can be difficult to communicate/meet, blunt honesty, and missed or over-adherence to relationship norms.

In love, Aspies are typically late bloomers and may find it difficult to connect in healthy ways to their romantic partners. This may show itself through controlling, anxious, OCD, depressed, or helpless behaviors as the person with Asperger’s tries to navigate their own and their partner’s needs. Luckily, Aspies in relationships can be the most loving, loyal, helpful, creative, and resilient partners.

Tune in to this free webinar to figure out how to move your Aspergian relationship from helplessly confused to delightfully satisfying and head-over-heels in love.

5 Reasons Children Might Be Performing Poorly in School

Monday, July 7th, 2014

5 Reasons Children Might Be Performing Poorly in SchoolThere are innumerable reasons why a child might be struggling academically at school. In my practice, this is one of the most common presenting complaints when a parent brings a child for an intake. The most important part of the treatment is often a thorough assessment.

Below are five main reasons which may cause children to perform poorly in school.

Why No One is Talking About the Possible Overdiagnosis of Autism

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Why No One is Talking About the Possible Overdiagnosis of AutismWith the latest CDC figures out, it appears autism is now appearing in about 1 in 68 children in the United States. The disorder — now officially known as autism spectrum disorder — is being diagnosed at a rate that represents a 30 percent increase from 1 in 88 two years ago.

What’s amazing to me is that I couldn’t find a single media report that floated the idea that this increase represents an overdiagnosis of the disorder. While “overdiagnosis” seems to be the first thing suggested when the topic is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’s (ADHD) huge jump in diagnoses over the past two decades, it’s not mentioned in any description of autism’s increase.

Why the double-standard?

Co-Parenting with a Partner on the Autism Spectrum

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Co-Parenting with a Partner on the Autism Spectrum

With as many as 1.5 million Americans having some form of autism, including milder variants such as what used to be called Asperger Syndrome, many of those on the autism spectrum are also parents. What are the challenges associated with co-parenting with an ‘Aspie’ partner?

When you have a family member on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, it can be the ordinary things that cause life to grind to a halt. Ordinary things, such as: getting enough sleep; asking your spouse to pick up a child from soccer practice; or having a little family chitchat at the dining table.

Sandy Hook: Administration Promises $100 Million in Mental Health Funding, But There’s a Few Problems

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Sandy Hook: Administration Promises $100 Million in Mental Health Funding, But There's a Few ProblemsFrom 2009 until 2013, states have cut more than $4.35 billion from mental health funding for treatment and related services for those most in need in America. Yes, you read that right — $4.35 billion. In tough times, states always turn to cutting social services first.

The message states seem to be sending is, “Hey, we know you’re already poor, so if we cut services to you, well, how much worse could your life be?”

So it comes as a relief — well, a little relief — that the White House announced the rejiggering of some budgets to free up $100 million in funding of mental health services to states.

Is this enough of a response — or even the right response — to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre?

Has Asperger’s Gone Away?

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Has Asperger's Gone Away? NoWith anything that changes, especially an important reference manual, people are going to be confused about what those changes actually mean. Nowhere is this more evident than in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

As we noted yesterday, the final revision was approved for publication. The DSM-5 is how clinicians and researchers diagnose mental disorders in the United States. A common language is especially important when conducting research, to ensure treatments are actually working for the symptoms people have.

One of the changes getting a lot of attention is the “doing away” of Asperger’s Syndrome. But to be clear — Asperger’s isn’t being dropped from the DSM-5. It’s simply being merged and renamed, to better reflect a consensus of our scientific knowledge on the disorder as one form of the new “autism spectrum disorder” diagnosis.

So while the term, “Asperger’s” is going away, the actual diagnosis — you know, the thing that actually matters — is not.

But you wouldn’t know it reading some of the mainstream media’s reporting on this concern.

The Benefits of Positive Behavior Support

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

The Benefits of Positive Behavior SupportAll individuals have the right to aspire toward their own personal goals and desires. At times, mental health conditions and problem behaviors, such as aggression or property destruction, can create barriers to reaching those goals.

Fortunately, a number of treatment practices exist that can assist an individual in adopting positive behaviors. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a mental health condition and has problem behaviors, consider talking to a mental health provider about the benefits of Positive Behavior Support (PBS).

What is PBS?

Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a philosophy for helping individuals whose problem behaviors are barriers to reaching their goals. It is based on the well-researched science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). A key component is understanding that behaviors occur for a reason and can be predicted by knowing what happens before and after those behaviors.

An Early Start for Kids with Autism: 5 Tips for Parents

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

An Early Start for Kids with Autism: 5 Tips for ParentsChildren with autism are often remarkably unaware of the meaning of other people’s nonverbal communications.

It is not uncommon to see a young child with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) who does not understand the “give me” gesture of an open hand or the meaning of a point. Your child may not understand the significance of an angry or sad face on another person.

Sometimes people interpret the child’s lack of interest or response to others’ expressions as a lack of cooperation, but children with ASD just don’t understand. How can you teach your child to pay attention to people and recognize what their body language means?

Here are three easy steps:

  • Step 1: Exaggerate your gestures.
  • Step 2: Add predictable steps.
  • Step 3: Provide needed help.

And here are five simple exercises you and your young child can do today to help with paying attention to people and better understanding body language.

Love Hormone Helps Kids With Autism

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Love Hormone Helps Kids With AutismThis guest article from YourTango was written by Frank Medlar.

Navigating social situations can be difficult for anyone, but for people on the autism spectrum, it’s not just difficult — it’s a minefield.

People with autism or Asperger’s don’t pick up on social clues that seem obvious to most people. There are unwritten social rules that they can’t fathom. Things blow up on them when they have no idea what they’ve done wrong.

To put it mildly, that’s stressful.

High anxiety is often the silent partner of people with autism, even those who are high-functioning. That anxiety can be paralyzing in social situations. Not just deer-in-the-headlights frozen, but full-on engulfed in fear. For people with autism, it compounds their already difficult challenges.

Recent Comments
  • Chet Bush: Thank you Professor Betsy Hoza for your ‘much needed Study on the ‘impotence of...
  • Lucy: Hi Shawna – you really need to get away from your father. You also need to realise that nothing he says...
  • kazchaz: This is helpful, very much so and it would be great to hear from you again, with updates on your progress,...
  • sambo: I really need some help im so depressed and anxious I cant work or leave the house im on antidepressants and...
  • Concerned: My father was a narcissist. He basically ruined my mother’s life and she ended up dying young of...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter


Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 15219
Join Us Now!