Specific Parenting Techniques for Children and Teens with ASD Level 1

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism [ASD Level 1]: Comprehensive Handbook


Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook is a downloadable ebook designed to help you, the parent, understand every aspect of High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and to effectively parent a child with this disorder. This ebook is the definitive source for anyone affected by HFA (also referred to as ASD Level 1). It brings together a wealth of information on all aspects of the disorder for children through to young adults.

This ebook is both authoritative and extremely accessible. Parenting children with HFA can be a daunting task. Here you'll learn the ins-and-outs of how to deal effectively with this disorder. In layman’s terms, HFA is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

Although they may vary slightly from person to person,
children with HFA tend to have similar symptoms, the main ones being:

  • A need to know when everything is happening in order not to feel completely overwhelmed
  • A rigid insistence on routine (where any change can cause an emotional and physiological meltdown)
  • Difficulties with social functioning, particularly in the rough and tumble of a school environment
  • Obsessive interests, with a focus on one subject to the exclusion of all others
  • Sensory issues, where they are oversensitive to bright light, loud sounds and unpleasant smells
  • Social isolation and struggles to make friends due to a lack of empathy, and an inability to pick up on or understand social graces and cues (such as stopping talking and allowing others to speak)

Testimonial: “Your Ebook is very thorough and has helped me and my husband immensely. We have a better understanding now!  Since reading this information and listening to your lecture points, my son Josh has brought his grades up 35%, and he is getting praise from his teachers. The Assistant Principal wrote a letter describing improvements in Josh’s behavior and gave it to me at the parent-teacher conference.” - J. C.

Does your HFA child's behavior confuse and frustrate you? Have you often wondered how his mind works? Are you frequently stressed-out due to your child's meltdowns and tantrums? Do you feel that you have wasted a lot of time and energy trying to get him to change? If so, then this ebook may be your best purchase of the year!

Essential reading for parents with children and teens affected by HFA, the Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism ebook should be on the desktop of anyone who needs to know or is interested in this complex disorder.

In addition to the ebook, I've included audio portions of my seminars on Parenting Children on the High-Functioning End of the Autism Spectrum. Also, you will have access to me, Mark Hutten, M.A., as your personal parent-coach

Contact me via email [mbhutten@gmail.com] as often as needed while you begin to implement your new parenting-approach with your child on the autism spectrum. All this for only one payment of $19.00.

Two Types of Parents--

There are basically two types of parents who are raising High-Functioning Autistic children:
  1. those who use "traditional" parenting techniques with ALL their children - including the one with HFA, and
  2. those who have learned that you simply can NOT parent HFA children and "typical" children in the same way
Why don't traditional methods work with an HFA child? Because his or her mind is wired differently than that of a "neurotypical" (i.e., non-autistic) child -- and there is a developmental delay.

Think of it like this: Let's say you have 3 children. Two of them only speak English, and one only speaks German. You, as a parent, have learned to speak both languages. So, which language will you use when you are trying to get your point across to the German-speaking child? German, of course! But, too many parents are speaking a foreign language to their HFA child, and then they wonder why he or she "doesn't get it."

It's not that your HFA child "doesn't hear" you, rather he or she "doesn't understand" you. When you, as a parent, try to teach your child how to behave, you must know how he or she thinks and what language he or she understands. Don't speak "neurotypical" to a high-functioning autistic child.

To get you started on the right track, here are a few simple parenting tips that are very specific to children and teens with High-Functioning Autism:

1. “Typical" children and those with HFA may have very different ways of communicating their feeling about life events, including: managing emotions, learning from life events, incorporating rituals and traditions for managing life events, dealing with dying and death, and coping with illness, injury or recuperation. Just because children may process and communicate their feelings differently, though, doesn't mean it's right or wrong. It is best to be honest and literal to help “special needs” children to manage major life events. Provide information and allow them time to process it.

2. A child with HFA may have difficulty understanding clich├ęs or expressions and interpret a phrase literally. By speaking directly and factually, like saying "It's easy" as compared to "It's a piece of cake", the child is more likely to understand the line.

3. HFA children have difficulty with transitions. So, don’t surprise them – let them know your plans.

4. Body language, facial expressions, gestures, and turning away from someone may be cues that are missed by an HFA child. When this happens, it is another opportunity for parents to be direct and factual, realizing that their body language or social cues may not be picked up by their child.

5. Children with HFA can manage situations by being aware of what they're feeling and thinking and expressing their thoughts to important adults in their life. Being aware of when they need help - and asking for it - is a good skill to have.

6. Children with HFA take in information from their five senses as do “typical” children. The difference is that HFA kids are not able to process it as quickly and can become overwhelmed by the amount of information that they are receiving. As a result, they may withdraw as a coping mechanism.

7. Due to the break of routine with family vacations, many parents of HFA children may avoid taking vacations. Steps can be taken to help make for a successful family vacation. One is sharing information with the child, like pictures or internet web pages. There are organizations that will make accommodations, if requested, to better manage uncertainty, crowds, and noise disruption. This includes theme parks who allow “special needs” children to skip long lines and airlines or airports that may allow for a dry-run prior to the trip. Also, prepare prior to the trip so that there is a plan for managing boredom.

8. Many children with an autism spectrum disorder are hypersensitive to changes in sight, touch, smell, taste and sound. The sensory stimulus can be very distracting and can result in pain or anxiety. There are other autistic children who are hyposensitive and may not feel extreme changes in temperature or pain. Each of these has implications for making an autism-friendly environment.

9. Since change of routine can be quite anxiety-producing for many HFA children, a structured, predictable routine makes for calmer and happier transitions during the day.

10. Social stories have been a great method to communicate ways in which the HFA child can prepare herself for social interaction.

11. Talking about - or engaging in - activities that the HFA child cares about is a great way to bond with him or her.

12. When you find out that an HFA child may not be able to look you in the eyes, realize that he or she is not trying to be rude. It’s simply uncomfortable for some of these children to do.

Testimonial: "I think my biggest problem was that I didn't change the things that weren't working. I kept using the same old parenting strategies and hoped for different results. This turned out to be almost as big a problem as not trying to fix problems in the first place.  For example, I thought that threatening to do this or that was an effective form of discipline -- but since I had to use it each day to correct the same problem, it should have been obvious that it was not a good strategy. I have better tools in my parenting toolbox now.  Thanks for your book and your speedy responses to my questions." - S.H.

Testimonial: "Thanks again Mark. I have been very impressed with your advice and felt I should 'pay it forward' as we feel we are getting such extreme value for our money. As such, I sent your web mail address to the doctor who was "trying" to help us. Our son was so extremely disrespectful during our visit with the doctor that the doc was exasperated at the end and told us there was nothing more he could do and so we should consider sending him to a home for 'raging' kids if his behaviour continued. I also note that our doctor has a Psychology degree. I know he has many cases such as ours, so I sent him your website to pass on to other parents of autistic children who would benefit from this resource. Kindest regards." - T.H.

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of HFA. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder. Here are just a few examples:

Misconception #1— HFA children are often regarded by parents and teachers as a "problem child" or a "poor performer." The child’s low tolerance for what he perceives to be boring and mundane tasks (e.g., typical homework assignments) can easily become frustrating for the youngster, resulting in his refusal to complete certain tasks. Consequently, adults may well consider the HFA child to be arrogant, spiteful, and insubordinate. This misconception often results in a “power-struggle” between the child and the adult, and in combination with the youngster's anxieties, can result in problematic behaviors (e.g., severe tantrums, violent and angry outbursts, meltdowns, etc.).

Misconception #2— Two traits often found in kids with HFA are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Misconception #3— An issue related to alexithymia involves the inability to identify and control strong emotions (e.g., sadness, anger). This leaves the youngster prone to sudden emotional outbursts (e.g., crying, rage). The inability to express feelings using words may also predispose the HFA youngster to use physical acts (sometime violent in nature) to articulate his mood and release “emotional energy.” All of these traits may give adults the impression that the youngster is simply “defiant” and “rebellious.”

Misconception #4— HFA kids often report a feeling of being “unwillingly detached” from their environment. They often have difficulty making friends due to poor social skills. The complexity and inconsistency of the social world can pose an extreme challenge for these "special needs" children. Accordingly, feeling incapable of winning and keeping friends, they prefer to engage in solitary activities. As a result, adults and peers often view the HFA youngster as “self-absorbed” and “narcissistic” – another unfair label.

Misconception #5— Young people with HFA may be overly literal and may have difficulty interpreting and responding to sarcasm, banter, or metaphorical speech. Difficulties with social interaction may also be manifest in a lack of play with peers. These problems can be severe or mild depending on the youngster. Due to their idiosyncratic behavior, precise language, unusual interests, and impaired ability to perceive and respond in socially expected ways to nonverbal cues – particularly in interpersonal conflict – HFA children are often the target of bullying and branded as "odd," both by peers and by adults who don't understand the neurological deficit involved.

The Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism ebook will help parents to fully understand their child's disorder, bringing facts to light while removing the myths and misconceptions.

As the years go by, are you seeing your HFA child rapidly becoming reduced to a person who is surviving on:

  • anger
  • feeling like a mistake
  • depression
  • hate
  • isolation
  • low self-esteem
  • resentment
  • sadness
  • self-hate

If so, then alarm bells should be going off. You know changes need to happen. Low self-esteem and behavioral problems go hand-in-hand! The information provided in the ebook and audio instruction is guaranteed to (a) improve behavior and self-esteem, and (b) empower parents and assist them in starting to enjoy their amazing "special needs" child.

You could (and may) spend the rest of the afternoon surfing and "researching" about High-Functioning Autism only to find that you've gained a wonderful knowledge of what the associated problems are (e.g., meltdowns, shutdowns, sensory sensitivities, mind-blindness, social skills deficits, etc.), yet you haven't learned any parenting strategies that actually help your child with these challenges. Let’s face it: You have been force-fed garbage and misinformation that will never get your HFA child on a good track.

I'm not offering a complete cure for ALL emotional and behavior problems, and I'm not trying to claim that every single thing that you'll ever need to help your child is in my ebook. But if you are looking for rock solid and proven solutions to a whole bunch of parenting-problems associated with raising a child on the autism spectrum, then I'm confident that you can benefit from my help.

Testimonial: "Coming up with a proper diagnosis and treatment has taken us down many roads, all leading to different therapies and parent-education classes. Through countless hours of research and phone calls, we have discovered the different levels of support are dependent on insurance or out of pocket expenses with no guarantees of a positive outcome. Needless to say, quality intervention has been hard to find. Recently we found your ebook on parenting children with autism (high functioning). It seems the most helpful and pragmatic approach so far. I'm going to share this information with all of our family members, including the teacher, so we are all on the same page in helping our son through this crisis." - R.W.

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About the Author: Mark Hutten, M.A. is a parent-coach with a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology - and more than 30 years’ experience. He has worked with thousands of children and teens with ASD Level 1 (High-Functioning Autism). He presents workshops and runs training courses for parents and professionals who deal with Autism Spectrum Disorders and is a prolific author of articles, ebooks, and videos on the subject.

Contact Information:
Mark Hutten, M.A.
Online Parent Support, LLC
Cell: 765.810.3319

More Testimonials:

"I wanted to say thank you for all your support, sound advice, and email responses. As a single mom of a much loved autistic child, you were the only person I could speak with, and you helped me enormously." - M.E.

"I have purchased your e-book... just wanted to say how amazing your work is proving to be. I work in the field of psychiatry but have struggled to discipline my HFA son and to understand his behaviour. I have put in to practice the first few bits of advice in your material and already it is working. Your insight into HFA teenagers is amazing... it was like you had written it all for my son and I. Thank you, a 1000 times, thank you. I’ll keep you informed of my son's progress." - T.W.

"I am so thankful and blessed I found your ebook. I am incorporating your suggestions into my life with my 15-year- old daughter – and things are going so much better. We are both trying and, though she still goes to counseling, I feel like I have tools to work with her now. Thanks a $$$million and God Bless You!" - P.G.

"Today, I spoke to my son's former counselor (whom I was asking for a referral for another counseling, which I did before I found your ebook). I told her, “I think I don't need it for now,” because I found your site. I gave her your site and told her to spread the word about your ebook, since her job deals with parents and autistic kids with similar problems. In a week's time, I've seen a great change. Thanks again for all the help!" - F.D.

"I should mention our successes. Last week, our son with high functioning autism received a merit award at school assembly for his ‘amazing improvements’ in class. He was also sent to the headmaster to show him a piece of creative writing he’d done, which was beautiful, detailed and above all way beyond what he was asked to do (he had been doing absolute minimum, and nowhere near what he is capable of). The headmaster wrote him a note of congratulations, which he proudly brought home. Mark, I just want you to know this is completely unprecedented. I believe it is entirely due to the recent changes we’ve made by following your advice. As you mentioned, it is going to take some time to turn around behaviour that has become habit over 11 years, and I’m sure there are continuing challenges ahead, but we really want to thank you for your expertise, and the insight and support it provides. Best regards." - L.G.

"I've already recommended this ebook to several families. I wish I had access to something like this when my child was young. It would have saved us a lot of heart ache now. You really need to franchise this material to other areas. I would love to attend a seminar, but live too far from you. It would be great to have one in my area." - K.P.

"I just have to let you know that I just started reading your book...I am in tears as I am reading. It is like you have been hanging out in our home, watching us. We are on our 4th therapist in a 3 year period and not one of them have seemed to have a grasp on what we are dealing with, but your first few chapters have summed us up almost immediately. I had to stop and say thank you." - M.J.

"Thank you for your concern for others. My husband and I were at the end of our ropes. I prayed for wisdom and God certainly answered my prayer. I have already tried some things in the first week - actually the day I ordered this, and to my amazement - they worked!! I had already been thinking the turmoil was like a drug for my HFA daughter -- and I was right. Thank you so much and God Bless you!" – E.H.

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Traits in the Child with High-Functioning Autism

Some of the traits associated with HFA that will be addressed in the ebook include: (1) emotional problems and sensory sensitivities; (2) difficulties with school-related skills; (3) issues related to health and movement; (4) social skills deficits; (5) behavioral problems; and (6) deficits in linguistic and language development.

Let's look at each of these in turn:

1. Why do children with HFA experience unique emotional problems and sensory sensitivities? For example:   
  •  An emotional incident can determine the mood for the day.
  • They can become overwhelmed with too much verbal direction.
  • They often experience difficulty with loud or sudden sounds.
  • Emotions can pass very suddenly -- or are drawn out for a long period of time.
  • They have an intolerance to certain food textures, food colors, or the way food is presented on the plate (e.g., one food can’t touch another).
  • They may laugh, cry, or throw a tantrum for no apparent reason.
  • They may need to be left alone to release tension and frustration.    
  • They usually resist change in their environment (e.g., people, places, objects).
  • They experience sensitivity - or lack of sensitivity - to sounds, textures, tastes, smells or light.
  • They tend to either tune out - or break down - when being reprimanded.
  • They have an unusually high - or low - pain tolerance.

2. What are the difficulties associated with school-related skills that need to be addressed? For example:  
  • Difficulty transitioning from one activity to another 
  • Difficulty with fine motor activities (e.g., coloring, printing, using scissors, gluing)
  • Difficulty with reading comprehension (e.g., can quote an answer, but unable to predict, summarize or find symbolism)
  • Excellent rote memory in some areas
  • Exceptionally high skills in some areas -- and very low in others
  • Resistance - or inability - to follow directions
  • Short attention span for most lessons

3. How should issues related to health and movement be dealt with? For example:    
  • Allergies and food sensitivities
  • Apparent lack of concern for personal hygiene (e.g., hair, teeth, body odor)
  • Appearance of hearing problems, but hearing has been checked and is fine
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty changing from one floor surface to another (e.g., carpet to wood, sidewalk to grass)
  • Difficulty moving through a space (e.g., bumps into objects or people)
  • Frequent gas, burping or throwing up
  • Incontinence of bowel and/or bladder
  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Odd or unnatural posture (e.g., rigid or floppy)
  • Seizure activity
  • Unusual gait
  • Walks on toes
  • Walks without swinging arms freely

4. Why do these children lack social skills, and what can parents and teachers do to help? For example:
  • Aversion to answering questions about themselves
  • Difficulty maintaining friendships
  • Difficulty reading facial expressions and body language
  • Difficulty understanding group interactions
  • Difficulty understanding jokes, figures of speech or sarcasm
  • Difficulty understanding the rules of conversation
  • Does not generally share observations or experiences with others
  • Finds it easier to socialize with people that are older or younger, rather than peers of their own age
  • Gives spontaneous comments which seem to have no connection to the current conversation
  • Makes honest, but inappropriate observations
  • Minimal acknowledgement of others
  • Overly trusting or unable to read the motives behinds peoples’ actions
  • Prefers to be alone, aloof or overly-friendly
  • Resistance to being held or touched
  • Responds to social interactions, but does not initiate them
  • Seems unable to understand another’s feelings
  • Talks excessively about one or two topics (e.g., dinosaurs, movies, etc.)
  • Tends to get too close when speaking to someone (i.e., lack of personal space)
  • Unaware of/disinterested in what is going on around them
  • Very little or no eye contact

5. How can behavioral problems be managed effectively? For example:
  • Causes injury to self (e.g., biting, banging head)
  • Difficulty attending to some tasks
  • Difficulty sensing time (e.g., knowing how long 5 minutes is or 3 days or a month)
  • Difficulty transferring skills from one area to another
  • Difficulty waiting for their turn (e.g., standing in line)
  • Extreme fear for no apparent reason
  • Feels the need to fix or rearrange things
  • Fine motor skills are developmentally behind peers (e.g., hand writing, tying shoes, using scissors, etc.)
  • Frustration is expressed in unusual ways
  • Gross motor skills are developmentally behind peers (e.g., riding a bike, skating, running)
  • Inability to perceive potentially dangerous situations
  • Meltdowns
  • Obsessions with objects, ideas or desires
  • Perfectionism in certain areas
  • Play is often repetitive
  • Quotes movies or video games
  • Ritualistic or compulsive behavior patterns (e.g., sniffing, licking, watching objects fall, flapping arms, spinning, rocking, humming, tapping, sucking, rubbing clothes)
  • Transitioning from one activity to another is difficult
  • Unusual attachment to objects
  • Verbal outbursts

6. What can be done to help with deficits in linguistic and language development? For example:    
  • Abnormal use of pitch, intonation, rhythm or stress while speaking
  • Difficulty understanding directional terms (e.g., front, back, before, after) 
  • Difficulty whispering
  • Makes verbal sounds while listening (i.e., echolalia)
  • May have a very high vocabulary
  • Often uses short, incomplete sentences
  • Pronouns are often inappropriately used
  • Repeats last words or phrases several times
  • Speech is abnormally loud or quiet
  • Speech started very early and then stopped for a period of time
  • Uses a person’s name excessively when speaking to them

Topics: Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Topics include:

1.    Problems with Diagnosing HFA
2.    Sleep Problems
3.    Ways to Help Your Child Calm Down
4.    How to Motivate Your Child
5.    Picky Eating
6.    Behavior Problems
7.    Caution about Punishment for Meltdowns
8.    Shutdowns versus Meltdowns
9.    The “Hyper-Focus” Trait
10.    School Refusal
11.    Dealing with Temper Tantrums
12.    Helping Your Child to Understand the World
13.    School-Related Behavioral Problems: Tips for Educators
14.    Transitioning HFA Teens to Adulthood
15.    Problems with Balance
16.    Shortening the Duration of Meltdowns
17.    Siblings’ Reactions to Meltdowns
18.    Treatment for HFA Symptoms
19.    Preventing Behavior Problems Before They Start
20.    HFA Teens and Social Skills
21.    Helping Students with High-Functioning Autism: A Snapshot for Teachers
22.    Teaching Organizational Skills
23.    The Cycle of Meltdowns
24.    HFA Students and Public Schools
25.    The Purpose of Social Stories
26.    Transitioning HFA Kids into Adolescence
27.    Dealing with Rituals and Obsessions
28.    Transitioning Between Schools
29.    Social Skills: Key Concepts and Interventions
30.    School Phobia
31.    Completing School Assignments On Time
32.    How Diet and Supplements Can Help
33.    Preparing Your HFA Teen for Adulthood
34.    The Difference Between Meltdowns and Tantrums
35.    HFA Teens and Suicidal Ideation
36.    Sensory Issues
37.    Teaching HFA Children To Lose Gracefully
38.    Rigidity in Thought and Behavior
39.    Grade-Skipping for the Highly Intelligent HFA Student
40.    Defiance in HFA Teens
41.    Helping Your HFA Teen to Accept the Diagnosis
42.    Getting HFA Kids Ready For School
43.    School Concerns: Advice to Teachers
44.    Anger-Control for HFA Teens
45.    Language Difficulties
46.    Attention Difficulties
47.    Rituals and Obsessions
48.    How to Stop Confusing Your Child
49.    Attachment Problems
50.    Oral Sensitivity and the Gag Response
51.    Motor Skills Development
52.    Face-Blindness
53.    Behavioral Management Plan
54.    Adolescent Behavior Problems
55.    Problems with Eye Contact
56.    Special Concerns in Adolescence
57.    Effective Teaching Practices for HFA Students
58.    HFA Students: Educational Considerations
59.    HFA Teens and Sex Education
60.    When Your HFA Child's Grades Start To Drop
61.    Understanding Your High-Functioning Autistic Child
62.    Motivating Your Underachieving HFA Teenager
63.    HFA Teens and Learning to Drive a Car
64.    The Negative Effects of “Nagging”
65.    How to Explain High-Functioning Autism to Your Recently Diagnosed Child
66.    Sneaky Ways to Curb HFA Teen Anger
67.    HFA and Lack of Eye Contact
68.    Grandmothers Raising High-Functioning Autistic Grandchildren
69.    HFA Teens and College
70.    40 Positive Traits of HFA
71.    HFA and Adolescent Issues
72.    Adult HFA Children Who Move Back Home – or Never Leave
73.    HFA and Loneliness
74.    Helping HFA Children with Homework
75.    Surviving Holidays with Your HFA Child
76.    How to Help Siblings Deal with an HFA Brother or Sister
77.    Violent HFA Children: What Parents and Teachers Can Do

...and much more!

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