A parent of one of my teen clients diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome recently told me about an excellent resource for parents and youth with high functioning autism called My Aspergers Child A link can also be found on my "Resources" page of my website.
My Aspergers Child website provides a wide variety of resources on many different topics of interest for parents and teens. Topics include parenting strategies, understanding what having Aspergers means for a child, commonly experienced symptoms and common co-morbid diagnoses, behavior management skills, and suggestions on how to make the environment more "user friendly" for children and teens with Aspergers. There are numerous ways to access the information either by reading posts, listening to watching videos, or listening to pod-casts. An excellent feature of the website is its Live Chat function, providing an opportunity for parents to connect with other parents to share information and get support on parenting a child with high functioning autism. Another great feature is the Live Chat for teens with high functioning autism. This is a great way to have social exposure, make friends, and be supported by others with similar experiences, without having to interact in person. Considering that a major piece of having Aspergers is oftentimes severe difficulty reading other people's body language for social cues, which is a huge stressor and contributor to meltdowns, such a feature as a Live Chat, is critical to providing opportunities to prevent social isolation.
What I particularly like about the website is that it is so focused and easy to use. Since the autism spectrum is so broad and encompasses so many different presentations, often times resources end up being targeted to a wider audience and provide "umbrella" information that seeks to address as many questions as possible. However, a drawback can be the absence of specific information to a particular presentation or a lingering question of "But what about my child?" Critically, Aspergers differs in so many ways from a diagnosis of "classic autism" to the extent that much of the information on autism, is in may ways, not applicable or only in a cursory manner, to Aspergers. While there is a range of symptoms and severity within Aspergers Syndrome and high functioning autism, having a dedicated resource that provides relevant information can ease some of the drawbacks of general information resources. It also creates a stronger chance for people with the diagnoses and their support systems to find information more quickly and connect. As previously stated, the presentation of resources in different formats is a big plus, which further reinforces the strengths of this website as a specific purpose tool for youth with Aspergers and their families. I highly recommend it.
If you are aware of other resources similar to My Aspergers Child, I would love to hear from you. Please send me the link and some information so I can post it to my "Resources" page. The more information we share with others, the greater chance we have to increase understanding and empathy for children with autism.