Anxiety and Depression

Depression and anxiety frequently exist with Asperger profiles. At times, it can be difficult to tell how children or teens are feeling because their body language and facial expressions may not seem to coincide with their mood. It is not uncommon for a parent to mention that the teen or child looks sad and for that young person to express some surprise at the parent’s comments. Additionally, anxiety can present in children in unexpected ways; for example, an anxious child may appear defiant or inattentive. It is important to know the cause of a particular behavior to be able to address it effectively. AANE can also guide parents in choosing mental health providers who can work with young people with Asperger profiles. Call or email us for referrals to mental health providers who can help your child and family.

Do you have a professional who has helped your family? Share the information with us so we can help other parents connect with the professionals they need.

Essential Resources:

Parent Coaching
Support Groups
Parenting Toolbox

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Why Does My Child Behave Like That? Practical Strategies for Parents of Kids on the…

Brenda Dater, author of Parenting without Panic, offers practical guidance to help your family function with less... more

Treatment of Anxiety in Children with ASD (HD)

Karen Levine shares her knowledge of helping children on the autism spectrum with their... more

Anxiety Management Techniques

Learn a variety of techniques to lower and manage your... more

Parenting without Panic with Brenda Dater

Brenda Dater, author of Parenting without Panic, shares practical guidance for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum; helping all parents feel less... more

Welcome to the Teen Years

In this webinar, Erika Drezner helps parents distinguish between behaviors that are related to an Asperger profile, and typical teen behaviors. She gives information on how Asperger’s impacts the adolescent mind, and how to handle the demands of parenting this kind of... more

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Adult Asperger Syndrome

Recommended Reading
An invaluable resource for therapists, this lucidly written book provides research-based strategies for addressing the core challenges of Asperger/Autism and helping clients manage frequently encountered co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Detailed case examples illustrate the... more

The Autism Spectrum and Depression

Recommended Reading
For people with Autism profiles, the stresses of coping with a world that seems alien to them can often lead to depression.. Written specifically for adults, this ground-breaking book offers accessible and sensitive advice on how to manage depression and make positive steps towards recovery. Nick... more

Preparing For Life: The Complete Guide for Transitioning to Adulthood for Those with Autism and…

Recommended Reading
Far too often, students with Asperger profiles graduate from high school graduates unprepared for the transition to an independent adult life. Early, ongoing training in the social skills crucial to establishing successful adult relationships—in college, vocational school, residential living, or... more

Quirky Kids: Understanding and Helping Your Child Who Doesn’t Fit In – When to Worry…

Recommended Reading
Quirky Kids is a classic written by two experienced pediatricians, offering parents practical strategies for raising children with Asperger profiles. Learn More and Purchase... more

Easy-To Implement Interventions for Children With Asperger Profiles

“Hello, Mrs. Thompson, this is Ms. O’Conner, Jacob’s teacher. I’m calling today because there was another incident in class. Jacob is struggling with listening to directions. We were at morning meeting and, as always, he was jumping up and down and calling out. Another student asked him to sit and be quiet because he couldn’t hear. Jacob... more

Familiarity = Safety: Transition for the Asperger Profile Student

Spring has sprung. It’s that time of year. Usually transition planning begins now in most school systems. However, it’s actually a little late. By the time you get this newsletter you will already be behind the eight ball as far as transition planning goes!! (Try understanding that if you have AS!!) So you better get busy! There are many steps... more

Guidelines for Neuropsychological Evaluations for Children and Teens

To most parents hearing it for the first time, the term “neuropsych eval” is mysterious, a phrase that never comes up in toddler music classes, playground chat, or the mainstream parenting manuals. Parents facing the possibility that their child has developmental problems, however, must quickly become accustomed to it, because the... more

Helping Children Understand Time

All children have challenges with understanding time, waiting, wondering when something will happen, or feeling like they’ve been doing homework for hours when it’s been 10 minutes. For children with Asperger profiles, these challenges can be even more difficult and will need more strategies and patient repetition to learn the concept. Because... more

Helping Students with Asperger Profiles Make Sense Of Recess

When “typical” children are asked: “What’s your favorite class at school?” many will say “Recess!” Most children love recess. They are in charge. Freed from arbitrary adult rules, they get to play and run around, burn off energy etc. Children with Asperger Profiles, however, may... more

How to Handle Meltdowns

Many children with Asperger profiles have meltdowns. After a meltdown parents can feel exhausted and wonder if they responded correctly. If you have a child who has meltdowns, consider the following: Not all meltdowns look alike: There are a variety of behaviors that occur when a child has lost the ability to stay calm or regulated. They... more

Sensory Processing and the Sensory Budget

How do we know anything at all about the world? Our sensory system is responsible for accurately taking in information so our brain can interpret this information and then do something with it. For everyone, this process happens instantaneously and continuously throughout the day: “I see red, I see round, I hear bouncing, I smell... more

Change in My Day Card

Many students with Asperger profiles get distressed when anything changes in their day. Alerting them in writing that a change is anticipated can help them adjust. You can help reassure them that everything will still be OK and help them understand what they will be doing instead of their regular schedule. Try using this model or one of your own.... more

Teaching Resilience to Children with Asperger Profiles

Perhaps you, too, have had this experience. A child—let’s call him Joey—is in the middle of a meltdown, and a well-intentioned adult advises him to take some deep breaths. (Perhaps you have even been that adult.) There’s just one problem—the child has never had any prior instruction in deep breathing, or any opportunity to rehearse using... more

Helping Your Child Learn How to Be Calm

Many children with Asperger profiles are easily frustrated, have strong reactions to change and have a more difficult time calming themselves when they are upset. Many parents have found it helpful to use the following strategy to help their children learn how to calm themselves when they are frustrated, angry or anxious. Step 1: Observe and Get... more

Asperger Profiles: Mental Health

Many children and adults with Asperger profiles experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health symptoms. An Asperger profile is a neurological difference, meaning that it influences the way that one perceives and processes information and experiences. Sometimes this can cause emotional and mental distress or sometimes a person with an... more

Throw Away The Yardstick or The Blessing of the Diagnosis

Many of us started this journey through the now famous metaphor of visiting Holland. If you haven’t read Emily Perl Kingsley’s brilliant essay on having a child with special needs, read it here. In it, she compares getting ready to have a baby to planning a trip to Italy—only expectant parents could think of parenting as a trip to one of... more

Dear Grandma and Grandpa, I’m Not a Bad Kid

Dear Grandma and Grandpa, I know you think I'm rude sometimes. The last time you tried to take me to the movies I screamed and put my hands over my ears because it was too loud and you got mad at me and said I ruined the movie for my little sister. Afterwards, when I was pacing in the back of the restaurant, you told me I needed to sit down... more

Asperger Syndrome and Bullying: Strategies and Solutions

Recommended Reading
Bullying is a serious problem for people with Asperger profiles, both at school and in the workplace. Displaying "different" behavior, such as not understanding social rules or hand-flapping, exacerbates the risk of being victimized. Nick Dubin describes the bullying behavior he and others have... more

Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Helping Preteens and Teens Get Ready for the Real World

Recommended Reading
Teresa Bolick is an experienced and trusted child psychologist who has shared her wisdom with the AANE community at many of our conferences. In this book she presents strategies for helping the ten to eighteen­-year-­old achieve happiness and success by maximizing the benefits of Asperger... more

Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome

Recommended Reading
Girls with Asperger/Autism profiles are less frequently diagnosed than boys, and even once symptoms have been recognized, help is often not readily available. The image of coping well presented by AS females of any age can often mask difficulties, deficits, challenges, and loneliness. This is a... more

Parenting without Panic: A Pocket Support Group for Parents of Children and Teens on the…

Recommended Reading
Ever wish that parenting a child or teen on the autism spectrum came with instant access to a support group? Brenda Dater has provided parents with exactly that. In this book she draws on her extensive experience as a support group leader and parent of a child on the spectrum to offer trusted... more

Types of Help for Complex Children and Teens with Asperger Profiles

When children are in crisis or things seem stuck, there is no silver bullet. Generally speaking there are only so many types of interventions one can try. Therefore, it’s critically important to re-examine key areas to see if something got missed, or if something needs to be tweaked or changed (or some member of the team needs to be swapped... more

Using Skill Cards to Generalize Skills

Skill cards help educators focus on teaching one particular skill at a time. They clarify which skill you are teaching, where the skill is being practiced and how it will be generalized. These cards are shared with the team of teachers who are working with the child as well as the parent. Skill cards collect data to help you know if your... more

Using Visual Schedules on the Weekend

Ever have the experience of waking up Saturday morning with a plan for how the day should proceed?  Guess what, your child on the autism spectrum does too! Often the parent and child perspectives differ concerning what should happen during the weekend. One strategy that can help address these differing expectations and clarify what will happen is... more

Walk a Mile in Our Shoes

Sometimes parents of children with Asperger Syndrome (AS) have the good fortune to encounter someone who really listens to our concerns, offers us emotional support or concrete help, or understands and appreciates our children. We are deeply grateful when we encounter one of these wonderful people, and never forget their kindness. All too... more

Asperger Profiles: The Big Picture-Challenges

While respecting the abilities and humanity of people with Asperger profiles, one should not underestimate their struggles and suffering they might endure. A society designed for and dominated by the neurotypical majority can feel uncongenial and even overwhelming for a person with an Asperger... more

Dear Parents of Typical Kids

Dear parents of typical kids, I could have been labeled a helicopter parent for my oldest son, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was 3 years old. When he started middle school 8 years ago, I tried to arrange for neighborhood kids to walk or bike to and from school together. I knew that other parents were not making plans for their kids.... more