Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you in a relationship with someone on the autism spectrum? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise? Then you've come to the right place. We are here to help you in any way we can. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile...

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Tips for ASD Husbands Who Are In the Doghouse

Would there be mostly D's and F's on your "relationship skills" report card? Has she crowned you “asshole of the year”? Then you may want to consider the following "idiot-proof" tips to get out – and stay out – of the doghouse:

1. One of the most respectful things a husband can do for his wife is to laugh at her attempts at humor. Lots of men, over time, forget this loving gesture. You say your wife isn't funny? So what? Neither is your annoying boss – but you laugh at his lame jokes. Why? Because you're trying to prove you respect him. Hello!

2. Apologize when you're wrong. Sure it's tough, but just try it and watch something wonderful happen.

3. Do some chores you lazy bum. The average woman without children does 10 hours more housework a week than her husband.  Come on!  Get with the program.

4. Don't walk out the door without a ‘see-you-later’ kiss. You only need to set aside 3 seconds a day for this task. A kiss in the morning, a hug after work, and another kiss before bed can produce a lasting feeling of intimacy – and will only cost you about 10 seconds of your valuable time.

5. If you continue to respond in the same way that has brought you pain and unhappiness in the past, you can't expect a different result in the future. Just one little shift can make a big difference. If you usually jump right in to defend yourself before your wife is finished speaking, hold off for a few moments. You'll be surprised at how such a small shift in tempo can change the whole tone of an argument.

6. I’m a man, so I can say this: In the course of arguing with their wives, many men fail to realize that, consistently, they are wrong. They just are. They’re trying to be right, of course. But they’re failing at it. They can’t help it. It’s the nature of things. Men are taller, stronger, hairier and wronger. It’s a fact that they should just get used to. Thus, you should be doing a lot of tongue-biting and pride-swallowing from this point forward.
 
==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

7. No clothes on the floor. You ain’t no teenager! Dirty stuff in the hamper, put the rest away.

8. Remember you are not a victim. It is your choice whether to react and how to react.

9. Remember you can't control anyone else's behavior. The only one in your charge is you.

10. Touch her frequently. As you pass by her on the way to the living room, give her upper arm a quick, affectionate double squeeze. As you're walking to the dinner table, put a guiding hand, lightly but surely, on her lower back. When she's standing at the sink doing the dishes, come up behind her and give her a kiss on the back of her head.

11. Try walking into a room with the mindset of your wife who spends a good chunk of time cleaning it. Ask yourself, "If I were a neat freak, what would bother me in here?" Suddenly, the unwashed coffee cup on the counter, your son’s sneakers under the table, and the newspaper crumpled on the couch will reveal themselves to you. Act accordingly. It'll take just seconds, but over time, the payoff can be exponential.

12. When you're in the midst of an argument, are your comments directed toward resolution, or are you looking for payback? If your comments are blaming and hurtful, it's best to take a deep breath and change your strategy (i.e., shut the f*** up!).
 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Strategies to Address Low-Frustration Tolerance in Adults with ASD

Strategies designed to address the autistic adult's difficulty in handling day-to-day frustrations have been developed along with comparable interventions for emotional problems relating to anxiety and depression. 
 
Here are the “big three”:

1. Self-control techniques have been used in the treatment of both aggressive and anxious adults on the spectrum, and given the difficulty that some have controlling these emotions, it may be advisable to make this deficit a key target of interventions for these individuals.

These individuals develop better self-control over their emotions by learning to recognize the physical signs of anxiety or anger (e.g., heart pounding, muscle tension, etc.), by practicing positive self-talk (e.g., “I’m upset right now, but I need to stop and think before I open my mouth”), and the utilization of relaxation techniques (e.g., muscle relaxation, deep breathing, etc.) to reduce emotional arousal and delay an immediate response to a stressful situation. This will permit careful reflection (e.g., problem solving, cognitive restructuring, etc.) prior to taking action.

2. Problem-solving skills are common to cognitive-behavioral treatment targeting behavioral or emotional problems. Adults with ASD are helped to think of several possible solutions to a given problem, and to reflect on the positive and negative consequences of each in order to choose the strategy that will maximize positive consequences in both the short and long term. These individuals who get frustrated easily rely too heavily on aggressive solutions, whereas depressed adults often default to avoiding their difficulties.

Problem-solving skills can be used in either case to broaden the repertoire of constructive coping strategies and enhance decision-making. Decreasing depression and anxiety related to low-frustration tolerance would be beneficial in itself for the adult with ASD, but it may have the added benefit of reducing negative moods that render the individual vulnerable to engaging in explosive, emotional and reactive aggression.

3. Reframing techniques have been used to deal with aggression, anxiety, and depression. The central feature of reframing is to identify thoughts that increase anger, anxiety or sadness, challenge their accuracy, and replace them with interpretations that are more realistic and less harmful. 
 
With regard to anxiety, a person on the spectrum may learn to recognize that her anxiety levels rise when she assumes that all of her coworkers would “think she is stupid” if she made a few typos in a business letter. Instead, she may be encouraged to take a more realistic view, recognizing that everyone makes mistakes, and that when other people make mistakes, she does not usually think badly of them.

To reinforce this perspective, the adult might use some encouraging self-talk (e.g., “It’s alright to make mistakes from time to time …that’s how I learn to avoid making the same mistakes in the future”). Applied to address emotional difficulties, reframing techniques are often used to emphasize that there is more than one way to explain the actions of other people.

Autistic adults who are easily frustrated over things both big and small face a complicated array of social and emotional challenges, and it is imperative that they recognize the full extent of their difficulties and tailor interventions to match their complex needs. More research is urgently needed to create and evaluate treatment strategies that integrate cognitive-behavioral strategies for the therapeutic intervention of both behavioral and emotional problems.

In the meantime, therapists who work with these adults may broaden the focus of existing clinic-based interventions by flexibly applying techniques such as cognitive restructuring, problem-solving skills training and self-control skills, along the lines described above. 

Parents may play a key role in advocating for their older teens and adult children with low-frustration tolerance, seeking referrals where appropriate to mental health centers where individual therapy may be provided, as this may be a particularly appropriate context to tailor interventions to the specific needs of the adult on the autism spectrum.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


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