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Kathy Marshack News

Can Computers Help Someone with Asperger Syndrome?

Friday, July 23, 2010


Social anxiety, difficulty communicating, and lack of eye contact are all things that someone with Asperger Syndrome has to deal with. It is like a heavy weight that they carry with them wherever they go. So, the question is, what can help such ones improve their "skills"?

Love to Know - Autism had a really interesting article about how computer programs can benefit those with Asperger Syndrome. It highlighted that computer programs are now available to assist those with Asperger Syndrome to develop skills that do not come naturally to them such as eye contact, improving memory, and problem solving. (Please read the article to see the full list of benefits and a list of computer software for this purpose.)

A word of caution though, if you choose this route of additional therapy, keep in mind that computers have no emotion. These types of programs should not be a replacement for companionship, but rather a training ground. If your loved one has Asperger's, seek out treatment for them from a mental health care professional who is skilled in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Visit my website for more information about Asperger Syndrome Support.

I’m also writing a new book, “Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind”. It addresses the unique issues that come up when you’re co-parenting with an Aspie partner. Click here to download a free sample chapter.

Tips to Survive the Summer with Your ADHD Child

Thursday, July 22, 2010


If you have a child with ADHD, you will most likely hear the words "bored" or "nothing to do" all summer long. It can be a real challenge to keep an ADHD child entertained – especially when they are out of school for the summer. Their boredom can lead to frustration which in turn can cause them to act out. Instead of having a fun, enjoyable summer, you are at each other's throats.

Here are some tips to help you and your child survive the summer:

1. Stick to a schedule. Structure and ADHD work well together. A schedule will help your child know what to expect for the week/month which will help them feel secure. Post a schedule for chores, daily activities, and events for your child. Even schedule "free time".

2. Use the community. Your community will have plenty of resources available for you. Day camps, rec centers, county fairs, and festivals are great places to take your children. It gets them out of the house and can offer some wonderful stimulation.

3. Set a bedtime. All children need proper rest, but especially a child with ADHD. Not getting enough rest will only aggravate their symptoms.

4. Pick tasks that will stimulate creativity. Puzzles, crafts, and drawing/painting are great projects that will help your child to be creative and help build their self worth.

For more information on this topic, I recommend ADDitute Magazine's - Summer Activities for ADHD Kids, Preteens. Also visit my website for information about Parenting a Child with ADD/ADHD.

Behavioral Problems Linked to Sleep Disorder in Children with ASD

Saturday, July 17, 2010


It’s been estimated that 40-80% of children who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will have problems sleeping. This is a major concern as it can contribute to behavioral problems during the day. When your child isn’t sleeping well, he or she is more likely to be hyperactive, irritable, and aggressive. This puts the physical and emotional well-being of the child at risk.

If your child is not sleeping, then it means that you are not sleeping either – which is going to impact how you are dealing with your child's behavior. If this situation sounds familiar, here are a few things you can do to try to help your child get a good night’s rest:

1. Keep a sleep diary. By keeping a daily record of the day and night, it might help you to discern if there are things that are causing a night of poor sleep.

2. Foods that are a stimulate – like sugar and caffeine – should be avoided before bedtime.

3. Entertainment that can be stimulating should also be avoided. Instead of television or computer time, try something soothing and relaxing like reading a story or a light massage. Also keep the house quiet.

4. Start a bedtime routine and stick to it.

5. If problems persist, see your child's doctor.

A good night’s sleep is very valuable. You and your child deserve it. It may be a struggle to get it under control, but be patient. For more information, I recommend The National Autistic Society - Sleep and Autism - Helping Your Child.

Parenting a child with ASD, especially when your parenting with an ASD spouse, is no easy task. My new book “Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind” addresses these issues. A free sample chapter is now available for download. Click here for more information.

Is It Really A Good Idea To Work With Your Spouse?

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Working with your loved one can be very rewarding. As I have said often, “Who better to trust with your business than your spouse?” However, there is another side that should be looked at if you are considering the entrepreneurial couple life. It is important to think through this decision thoughtfully since whatever you decide will impact your marriage.

Here are some important things to consider:

WILL YOU HAVE TIME FOR ROMANCE? One of the major complaints I hear from practically all entrepreneurial couples is that they no longer have enough quality time together for romance and friendship.

CAN YOU HANDLE COMPETITION IN YOUR MARRIAGE? Another cause for stress with entrepreneurial couples is competition between them. This goes for other family members too. We have a strong need for recognition and approval from our spouses. We also have a strong need to feel like powerful, accomplished adults. But how do you feel about competing with your spouse? Who’s the boss? Who defers to whom? Can you gloat about an accomplishment when you just bested your spouse?

COULD YOU SUFFER FROM A LACK OF CREATIVITY? Many members of family enterprises complain that their world is small. In other words they don’t get out much, especially women. When you work with family members, the only feedback you get is from family and this can be limiting. Working separately enables each partner to learn about the outside world more.

WILL YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME FOR YOURSELF? As important as it is to reconnect with your loved ones at least once a day, it is also important to have time to yourself. Seldom do I hear entrepreneurial couples complain that they have too much time with their spouses, but they do complain that they have no time to themselves.

My book Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Home and at Work, discusses the many pitfalls that entrepreneurial couples fall into and offers practical advice on how to deal with them. Or visit Couples at Work and Home on my website.

What about Children with an Asperger Parent?

Friday, July 09, 2010


I have written a lot about what it’s like being married to someone with Asperger Syndrome –  the many challenges you face daily. Now imagine what it’s like having a parent with Asperger Syndrome. This scenario is real and affects many children. So this leads us to wonder, what is life like for these children?

It is only realistic to expect that living with an Asperger parent will be a challenge. Many adults who were raised with an Aspie parent are now reporting severe depression and self-esteem problems because they lived with a parent who struggled to nurture them and get to know them. With a lack of warmth, tender affection, and communication, a child can feel emotionally rejected by their parent even though they may have all of their physical needs taken care of.

This is not to say that an Aspie parent does not love their child. That is far from the truth. But the communication and relationship deficits confuse the child and can lead to the child feeling unloved. Remember it is the child’s experience that defines the parenting, not whether the AS parent loves their child.

I am writing a new book entitled,  “Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind." It addresses the unique issues that come up when you’re co-parenting with an Aspie partner. Click here to download a free sample chapter.

If you have a child who has an Aspie parent, I highly recommend seeking professional help from a mental health care specialist. For more information on Asperger Syndrome, visit Asperger Syndrome Frequently Asked Questions on my website.

Parents - Be Alert To Signs of Stress In Your Children

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


Children and stress are two words that many never imagine go together, but unfortunately they do – especially now. According to a 2009 survey performed by American Psychological Association (APA), young ones between the ages of 8-17 years of age are dealing with stress. The sad thing is that this stress is often not being recognized by the parents.

One cause of stress is the family's financial situation. Parents, you may not realize it, but a child's eyes and ears are always open. They do hear about what is happening in the economy and they can easily recognize that it is stressing you out. They in turn bottle it up and begin to worry themselves.

The effect of stress on a young person can be evident by increasing headaches, difficulty sleeping, and change in appetite. Parents, I encourage you to be alert to these signs in your children. It is vital that if they are dealing with stress that they get proper help to cope. A mental health care professional will be able to assist you and your child deal with these issues. It’s also important to spend good quality time together as a family. Make the home a place of safety and security for your children and keep the lines of communication open.

Visit Managing Stress on my website for additional information.

Don't Let ADD Clutter Your Life

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Clutter and ADD go hand in hand. It can be real a challenge for someone with ADD to keep life organized. Hiding behind a cluttered room or desk is a survival skill to help cloak symptoms of ADD. ADDitude.com had a great article, ADHD and Organization: Clear Clutter from Your Workspace. It listed 10 tips to help someone with ADD organize their office. Click here to read the article.

I think the same principles work for kids with ADD and their bedrooms. These tips may give parents a head start to help their children get organized which could help them into their adult life.

One thing that I highly recommend is to de-clutter in short intervals. With ADD comes the tendency to become overwhelmed very quickly. By taking a few minutes a day and only focusing on one task a day, the job of organizing won’t appear to be insurmountable – to you or your child. Over time, you will be clutter free.

Visit my website for more information on Adults with ADD and Parenting a Child with ADD.

Psychological Problems Linked to Second Hand Smoke

Saturday, June 26, 2010


In the past few years, a lot of attention was given to the physical side effects that second hand smoke (SHS) can have on a non-smoking individual. Heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and asthma have been linked to SHS. Now attention is turning to the psychological effects of SHS.

According to new studies, SHS has been linked to psychological disorders as well as greater risk for psychiatric hospitalization in non-smokers. For a complete look at these studies, read the article Secondhand Smoke Linked to Psychiatric Illness, Hospitalization. The article mentioned that with increased smoking restrictions in public places, smoking is happening more often in the home environment. Studies also estimate that 60% of Americans are being exposed to SHS.

Now with the addition of psychological problems to already known physical problems, SHS is a serious problem! If you are a non-smoker, but have been exposed to SHS and are experiencing psychological problems such as anxiety or depression, I recommend seeing a mental health care professional. If you are currently a smoker, your life is in danger as well. Please visit the Stop Smoking section on my website for tips to overcome your addiction to cigarettes.

How to Support Friends who Live with Aspie Family Members

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Asperger Syndrome: Partner's & Family of Adults with ASD Support Group has been growing by leaps and bounds. Our meetings and Meetup page has become a place of comfort and support for those who have loved ones with ASD. So many times the focus is put on the one with ASD and with no support for their family, but that is now changing.

I recently received an post from a new member who joined to support her friend who is married to someone with ASD. Here is what she said, "Thank you for your welcome. I was happy to find this group as I was very much helped by your book, which I've passed on to my friends. They found it tremendously helpful. I am glad to find any discussion on these issues as those outside the situation find it pretty nigh impossible to understand the pain involved. I'm not married to an AS but my friend is."

The support group is not limited to those with family/partners of ASD, but also those who are friends to Neuro-typicals with Asperger partners. Many times the NT's feels like no one understands the pain that they are experiencing. This new member set a wonderful example of a supportive friend. I encourage anyone else in this situation to please join our support group meetings or Meetup page if you live outside of the Portland/Vancouver area.

My book Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge is available for purchase on my website or feel free to download the first chapter for free. This is also an excellent resource for friends to read to gain a greater appreciation for what their friends may be experiencing. Thank you to all of you who are taking the lead to help spread the word about Asperger Syndrome.

Entrepreneurs - Tips For Finding An Ideal Employee

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Finding the “ideal” employee can be challenging. As an entrepreneur, you have worked long and hard to make you business a success and whoever you add into the mix can either be for the good or for the bad. Here are a few tips to help you when you are looking to hire a new employee:

1. Ask yourself, have you ever had a terrific employee that you wish you could clone? If so, make a list of that employee’s qualities, from their actual work skills, to personality traits. As you examine the qualities of this ideal employee, you will open your mind to the traits you are looking for in your next hire. Develop a list of the qualities you need to fit your particular setting. From this list, begin drafting questions that will elicit from prospective employees whether they have these qualities.

2. Always use screening tools to search out personality traits, emotional problems and psychological issues that do not surface during an interview. It is probably best to use the services of a psychologist who is expert in interpreting these tests, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

3. Ask yourself if your workplace is attractive to the type of employee you want. Do you need to remodel to make the workplace more ergonomic? Is your management progressive? Are there other benefits and perks you can offer? Remember, a healthy, hardworking employee is looking for a good match in an employer too.

4. Realize that all employees have problems in their lives from time to time that will affect their work. After doing a thorough screening, and hiring the very best person for the job, make sure you have a back-up system to deal with problems as they emerge. For example, providing a child care allotment, or flexible scheduling, or some form of employee assistance plan, goes a long way in correcting stress in an employee’s life, so that they can solve life problems as quickly and effectively as possible.

Read more tips on being a successful manager when your run your own business on my website.


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