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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I have an 11 year old daughter with aspergers syndrom. and

Customer Question

I have an 11 year old daughter with aspergers syndrom. and we are having a lot of trouble with her behaviour at home. in one of the books that i have read it mentioned a behaviour tool called Applied Behaviour Analysis. but it didn't really explain how it works. My understanding from what it did say is that it is some sort of reward system. Do you know what it is and can you tell me how it works and how to set it up to use with my daughter to try and settle her behaviour down and get her to be more cooperative at home.
Regards
Anthea
P.S I am desperate to stop the arguments at home and to teach my aspergers daughter that if you want something you have to work/earn it.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 4 years ago.
Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, Let me say I can imagine how difficult the situation must be for you. I work with Aspergers teens and preteens can be very demanding and challenging as they grow. I am therefore going to begin by urging you to consider having her work with a psychologist who is experienced with Aspergers kids and teens. Why? So that you don't face the full brunt of teaching her the rules of the world and of life that she needs to integrate. Because these rules of living that seem so easy and natural to us are mystifying and arbitrary to her and she needs to be continually trained and convinced of the rules we are telling her she needs to work within. So having another authority that she can refer to who can tell her how to navigate the world is vital for her and YOUR wellbeing!

I will get to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) (please forgive my American spelling) but I want to get you started with an approach that I feel is more parent friendly and more specific to Aspergers and extremely effective. Let me give you the name of an excellent book I use with parents. The book is Parenting Your Aspergers Child by Sohn and Grayson. Here is the Amazon web page for it:

http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Your-Asperger-Child-Individualized/dp/0399530703/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285651809&sr=1-1

I have multiple copies of it in my office to give to parents because I think the proactive approach they use is sensational! Their approach is extremely practical and is based on guiding the child or teen through the confusing arbitrariness of what the world is like for her. So, this is my first recommendation to you. And when you interview psychologists, see if they are willing to use the approach.

Now Aspergers in girls is a bit different than with boys. So for your education, here's a book about girls and Aspergers. I'm including it for your knowledge, not as a treatment guide. Asperger's and Girls by Tony Attwood. Attwood is THE authority in spectrum disorders. There are other experts who have chapters. It can be a bit repetitive. Here's the Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Aspergers-Girls-Tony-Attwood/dp/193256540X

Now for ABA. This is really a modality for working with autism spectrum disorders. It is used in our work with Aspergers. But my concern is that you are getting into a very professional discussion that you're not going to be interested in. ABA is a comprehensive way to do what the Parenting book I first cited for you does to a great extent in practical terms. ABA focuses on the principle that changing behavior with autism is best accomplished by directing the awareness of the person on the effect of current behavior on the environment around her. This is as opposed to focusing on what it feels like inside to do the behavior. This is a very simplistic and overview type of explanation. But I hope you get the idea: ABA is a way to focus the autistic (or Aspergers) child on what she's doing in the world and how her behavior is having effect in the world rather than inside of her.

So here are two books on it. The first is really for professionals. But if you're interested here it is. It's in a second edition now: Applied Behavior Analysis by Cooper, Heron, and Heward. Here's the Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Applied-Behavior-Analysis-John-Cooper/dp/0131421131/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1288661711&sr=8-1

This next one is a lot more parent friendly: The Verbal Behavior Approach: How to Teach Children with Autism and Related Disorders by Barbera and Rasmussen. Here's the Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/Verbal-Behavior-Approach-Children-Disorders/dp/1843108526/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1288661711&sr=8-10

Okay. So all in all, I hope that you will get and use the principles in Sohn's book to your best advantage and get help for yourselves and her from a psychologist and get good education from the other books.

I wish you all the best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5170
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
Dr. Mark and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Keona is seeing a psychologist who does have experience with aspergers as his grandson has the condition although his grandson does not have the adhd type personality that our daughter has. Unfortunately where we live we do not have a lot of choice when it comes to psychologists. Also our other problems with getting regular sessions for her are 1. Getting an appointment as he can be hard to get into and 2. Under the mental health care plan that is available to us she can only have 6 sessions per year that are covered by our medicare system, anything over that we would have to pay for and unfortunately we are not in a financial position to do so. I do recieve regular emails from Craig Kendall @ the aspergers society and I have also just ordered Parenting Asperger Resource Guide by Dave Angel on a 60 day free trial. Do you think that any of these are going to help or should i still try to obtain a copy of the book you have suggested.
Also with her psychologist she does have a good connection with him but even so on her last visit he could not get through to her because she is in such a mood at the moment and is being very negative about everything we are trying to do to help her. Especially if it means that she has to do something to 'earn' getting her own way.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 4 years ago.
Okay. Thanks for the added information.

Two things. First, I want you to ask your psychologist if there is a psychology graduate school that might have psychology internships or practicums where you could take your daughter to see a graduate who's doing his/her internship instead of your psychologist. Perhaps your psychologist could confer with the student and the student's supervisor at the internship site so that the treatment could be coherent. But this is a way for your daughter to get some treatment consistently. 6 times a year isn't going to do it. She needs consistency and she needs intensive treatment. You need the help.

Second, the book is even more imperative now. You need a framework that isn't too "bookish" to work with that can give you help. Sohn will do that for you. the other books will supplement his down to earth approach. If you follow his approach (as I said, similar to ABA) you will see steady improvement. With consistent therapy you will have a much easier time than you are facing right now.

I just thought of this: is she being treated for ADHD symptoms? Talk about it with her psychologist. It might help.

So, try those two ideas. Yes, it is tough. But when she does get stabilized it will be easier to enjoy her.

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Dr Mark,
I have ordered the book you have suggested, unfortunately though, I will not receive it until early to mid December at the earliest. In the mean time I am going nuts myself dealing with this child. I have also contacted her psychologist in regards XXXXX XXXXX other suggestion and we just do not have these types of facilities in our area. The closest would be Sydney ( a 2 and a 1/2 hour minimum drive away) or Canberra ( a 3 hour minimum drive away). For the regular treatment that she requires this is just not practical. I will accept your answer however at this stage I am still no closer to an answer as we just do not have the facilities available to us that you obviously have in the States. She has one more Medicare visit left for this year lets hope that she is in a more receptive mood next time so as Liam can make some progress with her. Even just to get her into a basic councilor there is a six month waiting list and they don't guarantee any results because they are not trained in this disorder.
I am mainly sending you this just to help you be aware that us Aussies obviously don't have the support that you do unless you live in a capitol city, which we don't. Thank you for trying to help anyway.
Regards
Anthea Roulstone
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 4 years ago.
Anthea,

I can't say that we have more support in rural areas than you do. We may have more metropolitan areas closer to rural areas than you do, though. And this is where you are running into a wall: there ARE no services to help you in your area.

Which means you either grit and bear it until you can get her into a residential facility of some kind, some kind of a special needs boarding school, or you move. I recommend you have Liam look for a residential special needs school in Canberra or Sydney that may accommodate Aspergers kids.

The other choice is to drive to Sydney. Her being confined in a car may give you 5 hours of peace...Or if there is a small-plane pilot in your area who would like to take this on as a charity project to fly you there each week...

I'm sorry there are no other options available to you. She may force you to consider moving in to Sydney! I've heard of it before--that people had to move to a big city where there could be medical services for their kid.

I wish you the best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

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Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice