Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise?
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Interventions for Adults with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Each person with Asperger’s (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) is unique, so interventions need to be individualized. Grown-ups come to this awareness at different ages and stages of their lives, which can influence the approaches they choose. Be creative in the combination of interventions you use, and simplify your life.

Here are some general ideas regarding interventions for adults with AS and HFA:


1. A Cognitive-Behavioral approach to therapy is strongly indicated.

2. A slower-paced environment will likely be more tolerable and allow for a greater sense of comfort and competence.

3. A therapist with an awareness of AS and HFA (or interest in learning about it with you) is essential.

4. A variety of therapies can be helpful to adults with AS and HFA, depending on the individual.

5. Advocate for environmental changes at work or home. If you are more comfortable, the people around you will be as well.

6. Teach others about the "disorder" (actually, I like to think of it as simply "a different way of thinking"). Grown-ups with AS and HFA are pioneers in educating others in their families, workplaces and communities.

7. Attend a group where social skills are explicitly taught.

8. Know your weakness, and seek professional “life coaching” to work on those areas.

9. Communicate with those around you about your need for periodic “down-time” (i.e., time alone to recharge your social battery), but do not use it as an excuse to avoid participation in family or other activities.

10. Contact Career One-Stop Centers (federally funded centers designed to help people learn new, marketable skills, identify jobs and prepare for interviewing).

11. Contact the vocational rehabilitation agency in your state. With an official diagnosis of AS or HFA, you may be entitled to service.

12. Disclose your disorder to others strategically. Only share the information that is required for that time and place, and consult with a trusted person to determine what to disclose if you’re unsure.

13. Heightened sensory sensitivities may make particular environments unpleasant or intolerable. Thus, change lighting, decrease noise, and wear comfortable clothing.
 
14. Hire people to do the things you’re not good at, which may include, but not limited to: (a) money management, (b) housework, and (c) organization and bookkeeping.
 
15. Join Social Groups with other AS and HFA adults. This decreases isolation, and with practice, increases comfort with other people -- and may improve social skills.

16. Know what AS and HFA is in general and how it affects you specifically.

17. Know your areas of difficulty.

18. Know your strengths and build on them.

19. Listen to trusted family or friends.

20. Medication can be helpful in decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany AS and HFA.

21. Meet others with AS and HFA, listen to and support one another.

22. People with AS and HFA tend to connect most comfortably around shared interests (small talk is less essential in interest-based groups).

23. Physical and emotional comfort are essential to individuals with AS and HFA.

24. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is generally less helpful.

25. Read about AS and HFA from a variety of perspectives.

26. Sensory and social demands of daily life make more down-time essential for adults with AS and HFA.

27. Stop the blame game  – blaming yourself or others is common and not helpful.

28. Strengthen your areas of difficulty or minimize their presence.

29. Work with a Life Coach that will assist with (a) concrete skills-building and goal direction, (b) independent living skills, (c) employment-related skills, and (d) social skills.

30. Be patient with yourself as you experiment with different coping strategies.




Best Comment:

Frankly, we have been on the verge of divorce since we got married, but we have five kids in the house who have already been through a divorce and neither of us wants to put them through any more trauma. What led us to seek therapy almost immediately after the wedding, was my husband's EXTREME jealous, possessive and controlling behavior throughout the relationship. After we got married it had bordered on emotional abuse. We had been in therapy with various different counselors, (and still are) but no one seems to be an Asperger's expert around here. Getting the diagnosis was both an AH-HA! moment and also devastating, in that this is a permanent and incurable condition.

So much of what I have read online rings true with me, I am horribly lonely and feel like we are roommates but have no "connection" for lack of a better word....but the worst part, that makes me feel it is not safe to drop my guard and allow him into my heart, is the way he just explodes unpredictably. As is typical with AS, he is prone to meltdowns over the smallest things (which always seem to be related to him deciding some action of mine- shaving my legs, getting a text, being five minutes "late", telling my kids they can have a friend over) means that I either "don't prioritize him' or "am trying to attract another man". Neither of which is true, he just can't understand normal behaviors or handle any changes in (his) plans. He will take a normal incident, and go over it and over it in his head until it is just completely twisted into some horrible offense.

I walk on eggshells all the time waiting for him to turn something tiny into something that will dominate his thinking for weeks on end. I am tired of being told not to "push his buttons" and being afraid of what is going to happen, what he will say, what the next fight will be. A chance encounter I have with a male acquaintance can turn into an ongoing interrogation for days or weeks. He asks me if I "ran into anyone" or "talked to anyone" every day, and if I did or do, and fail to tell him EVERY DETAIL of what was said then I am "hiding" things, etc, but if I do tell him, he twists it into something it wasn't, makes accusations, ("why was he SO happy to see you!? why didn't you introduce me/ talk about me, etc") and so forth.... I dread social situations and even school events with my kids because I can't control other people's behaviors. I don't know what someone may say or do that is going to set him off or what he will find to be angry about. I even quit my previous office job that I loved in order to work with him because he was so angry and upset about my job every day. He was bullied pretty severely as a child and always thinks that other men are "playing games", "Bullying him" and are looking to "stir up drama" and that it's therefore his prerogative to respond in an overtly aggressive, nasty manner to these perceived threats, which obviously causes many problems. He also believes that all women are sexually interested in him and that all men are sexually interested in me. (no matter how unlikely or unrealistic that may be)

Some things have gotten better since his diagnosis (he no longer tries to inspect my clothing for any hint of attractiveness/ sexiness, or forbid high heels, for example, and he makes a real effort to buy me gifts, initiate affection, and communicate better.) He now accepts that there are things he simply does not understand; but other things are not. He thinks in marriage it's his right to expect an idealized, fantasy-type sexual relationship where I passionately desire intimacy with him every day; he reads meanings that aren't there into every facial expression or action I take (not standing close enough to him means I "don't love him"; not saying "bless you" when he sneezes is "callous" and so forth); and any desire I express for this slightest bit of privacy means I have something to hide, and therefore he should be suspicious about it.

I am 40 years old. If there is no help for this I would like to at least KNOW, I am exhausted from trying to please my husband and never, ever succeeding. I am absolutely desperate and broken. I can't even tell my husband any of this. I am actually terrified to even send this email and I have been sitting here debating what he would do if he knew I sent it....I am pretty sure if I let him read this email he would just get stuck on the first paragraph, find some example that isn't "strictly what happened"...we would argue over my use of examples, and he would be livid that I "reached out to another MAN", then it would turn into this huge dramatic fight about how much I "hate him" . He would never make it to the big picture at all, see that I am looking for a way to bring us closer, or see how hurt I am. He is not violent so I am not afraid for my safety.

1 comment:

  1. It is possible that, with structure in your relationship, you might get some relief. Are you still seeing a therapist? You will need a trusted 3rd party to help you but here are some possible remedies:
    1. Find an area in which your partner sees a need for help and, with the therapist's help come up with a schedule or structure for you partner that works. This will establish the precident.
    2. Take an issue that you can both acknowledge is difficult for both of you and apply the same technique. - then an issue that your partner might not see as important - that presents a problem for you and apply the process.
    So what does the process look like. Here would be an example: Your partner perseverates on a past event. Allow a time limit for the perseveration to be discussed and agree that it must be tabled at the end of that limit to be rescheduled at a later time or with the therapist.
    There are lots of ways to introduce structures of this kind.
    I recall Dr. Tony Attwood telling the story of an Aspie who needed a reminded note compliment and kiss his wife daily. One day he lost the card and the compliments and kisses abruptly stopped - that is until the card was replaced.

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