ADHD and ADD

I Am a Special-Needs Parent Raising a Special-Needs Child

My 11-year-old son Sam has anxiety disorder, for which he takes a daily dose of Zoloft. He’s also being treated with Adderall for ADHD. And he was recently diagnosed with autism.

I’m 52 years old and bipolar. I ingest a nightly cocktail of four psychotropic meds.

Because both son and mother have notable disabilities, the going, as they say, can get rough. Thank goodness, Sam's father and my husband, Pete, has both feet planted firmly on the ground and is without mental illness.
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Aspergers

9 Ways to Cope with Having a Mental Illness

The world is pretty much in the Stone Age when it comes to psychiatry. This makes it hard for people with any degree of mental illness. It's especially hard if you're not quite able to function like other people but you do well enough so that your problems don’t show every day.

That’s what it’s like for me on the autism spectrum. (Not everyone considers autism a mental illness. I consider it one for me because it affects my daily functioning and makes me depressed.) But I think it applies to most other disorders, too. Here are some tips that might help you keep a healthy perspective.
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Aspergers

Top 10 Asperger’s Blogs of 2015

Asperger’s is a curious syndrome, showing itself differently between individuals. One person may exhibit repetitive speech and one-sided conversations, while another will have challenges with nonverbal communication and have awkward mannerisms. Others may not engage appropriately in social interactions, may appear self-centered, lack empathy, or be obsessed with a particular topic. A person with AS will not usually show delays in language or cognitive development, and this is what sets it apart from autism.

There is heartfelt discussion of the impact of diagnosis in the AS blogosphere. The American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic reference book, the DSM, added Asperger Syndrome to its fourth edition in 1994. 
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Aspergers

4 Ways a Child with Autism Affects Family Life

An autism diagnosis not only changes the life of the child diagnosed, but also that of family members. Parents of an autistic child have to bear a lot of stress owing to complicated therapy schedules, home treatments, and juggling job responsibilities and family commitments. There is also financial stress coming from the expensive therapies and treatments.

Such stress may affect family life in various adverse ways. Parents of autistic children need to meet the needs of their children, as well as address the needs of their family. Coping with the stresses involved in being parents to an autistic child can strengthen families and marriages, but this requires a great support system and a lot of hard work.

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Aspergers

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

Empathy 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.
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Autism

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC

In 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.

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Autism

The National Alliance on Mental Illness 2014 Conference

The 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.

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Aspergers

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

Learn 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.

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ADHD and ADD

Why No One is Talking About the Possible Overdiagnosis of Autism

With 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?

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Aspergers

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.

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