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Kathy Marshack News

What Happens When Children with Asperger Syndrome Grow Up?

Friday, March 13, 2009


Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism that has captured the attention of the media lately because of the
unexplainable increase in diagnoses among school-age children. For example, Steve Silberman wrote a piece for Wired magazine in December 2001 entitled “The Geek Syndrome” where he speculated on the phenomenal increase of children with Asperger Syndrome living in Silicon Valley with their “geeky” parents. A few months later Time magazine ran an article in its May 6, 2002, issue by J. Madeleine Nash entitled “The Secrets of Autism.” Nash asked, “The number of children diagnosed with autism and Asperger’s in the United States is exploding. Why?”

Over the next few years every major newspaper and magazine in the United States published on the subject, and television and radio have run specials. However, the overwhelming emphasis has been on children and schooling. In fact, so little is written on the subject of adults and adult relationships that Suzanne Leigh of USA Today interviewed me for an article entitled, “A long shadow is lifted on Asperger’s in adults” published July 23, 2007 long before the publication of my book, “Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: GOING OVER THE EDGE?” because she could find few experts on the subject who have published in the United States.

Clearly, the interest is growing, but the answers are scarce. So the questions remain. What happens when children with Asperger Syndrome grow up? Click here to learn more.

A New Movie Puts Asperger Syndrome in a Positive Light… But sometimes life doesn’t have a Hollywood ending

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Fox Searchlight has recently acquired the rights to a new film, ADAM, that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January. This is big news since it’s not the typical love story you’d find on the Hollywood scene. The story highlights the relationship between two young, single New Yorkers who live in the same apartment building. Adam is an electrical engineer and Beth is an elementary school teacher and aspiring writer. What makes this story so unique is that Adam suffers from Asperger Syndrome. Although I haven’t seen it yet, it appears that ADAM is a heartwarming story of a young man struggling to live a normal life with AS. Apparently the movie producers worked hard to portray AS accurately and they never put the developmental disorder in a negative or disrespectful light. Jonathan Kaufman, founder of Disabilityworks, Inc. worked with the director of ADAM, to help maintain a realistic feel to the movie. Kaufman stated, “In a world where the number of kids diagnosed with autism is 1 in 150, this type of film will provide real insight into the life of someone with high functioning autism,” and he hopes, “provide real hope for millions of families.” I agree that this is an important subject for a movie. However, I would hate to see it provide false hope for people who want their life to mirror this happy ending. Having an intimate relationship with someone with Asperger Syndrome is challenging and often times heart breaking. Movies are great for entertainment, but for real hope you need to look inside yourself. That’s what my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going over the Edge?, will encourage people to do.

Exciting news about the foreword of my new book - Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: GOING OVER THE EDGE?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Good news! My new book "Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: GOING OVER THE EDGE?" is going to hit the shelves very soon. It has been a long journey and I am eagerly anticipating its arrival. Thank you for your patience.

I am also happy to announce that Stephen M. Shore has written the forward to my book. Stephen is the assistant professor of education at Adelphi University and is an internationally known author, consultant, and presenter on issues related to Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Along with Linda Rastelli, Stephen co-wrote Understanding Autism for Dummies as part of the acclaimed Wiley “For Dummies series." He also is a member of the Board of Directors for the Asperger’s Association of New England and the Autism Society of America.

As an Aspie, Stephen writes of his own experiences being married to a Neuro-typical woman (NT) and how they have worked together to overcome the challenges. I greatly appreciate his contribution and I know what he has written will touch the hearts of many. Thank you Stephen!

More updates are soon to come!

Divorce is more common in families with ADHD

Friday, February 20, 2009


A recent study at the University of Buffalo found that couples with a child with ADHD are twice as likely to get divorced than couples without a child with this disorder. Dr. William E. Pelham Jr., professor of psychology and pediatrics, states a possible reason, "We've known that ADHD kids can be very stressful for their parents. What this [new study] shows is that stress occurs in the marriage as well as in other aspects of the parents' lives." Dealing with a child with ADHD can cause constant arguments between parents possibly because they don't know how to handle the issues. "If they don't get together on how to solve the problem, the child's behavior is not going to improve," Dr. Pelham says. "The situation gets worse, and if those arguments don't get resolved, not only does the child's parenting not improve but the marriage worsens -- and almost a quarter of the families get divorced." Parents really need to develop techniques for managing the child’s behavior that they both agree on. Most often parents need help from a mental health care professional to counsel both the child and the parents. They can help them to develop healthy new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other. If parents can work together, they can give the love and support that their child needs without sacrificing their marriage. For more information on how to cope with ADHD, click on the link. Or feel free to contact my office to set up an appointment.

Should You Try to Find Your Soul Mate?

Thursday, February 05, 2009


With Valentine's Day just around the corner, many singles are reminded that they are looking for love. Trying to find your Soul Mate can be filled with fear - fear that you will never find that perfect person for you. But do not get discouraged! Finding your soul mate will require hard work and time, but it will pay off in the end. If you want to begin the search for your soul mate, you must first dispense with your fears of being alone. It is far better to be alone than with the wrong person. Fear clouds your judgment. It holds you back from seeking opportunities or even noticing them for that matter. Next, make a list of the qualities you are looking for in this person. Be as picky as you want. If he or she is to fit nicely into your life, then you need to be specific. Don't compromise. List everything your heart desires. It's all important. In fact, it is often the small details that make or break a relationship so put them all on your list. After you make your list, ask yourself if this list is a good match for you. Remember opposites attract, but the best partners are much like ourselves. If your list describes your opposite, you might want to rework it. Now you want to narrow your search to the range of really available and desirable people for you. This person is likely to be found in the world that you inhabit already but specifically at the meetings, classes, art galleries, political rallies and the like that hold fascination for you. To further hone your skills at self discovery and finding the perfect Soul Mate for you it may be helpful to meet with a psychologist. Often we have blind spots that the therapist can help you to elicit and correct. Click here to read more articles on this subject.

Learn the art of listening and improve your communication skills

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As a psychologist, I talk to most of my clients about their communication skills. Why is that? Communication is an art and rarely comes naturally. It is a complex never-ending process that requires your attention. If you assume because you are in the same family or because you work in the same industry that understanding each other is simple, you’ll create confusion over and over again. One way to become a better communicator is to develop the art of listening. Here are a few simple tips you can begin practicing immediately to clear up communication problems you are having with your loved ones, employees, friends and business associates: 1. Listen for what the other person means not just what they are saying. This will help you to identify the true meaning behind the words. 2. Ask yourself "Why is he or she telling me this?" When people communicate they unconsciously or consciously identify a certain person to talk with. The person is chosen because the speaker needs a certain kind of feedback that they hope they will get from that particular person. 3. Assume that the person has a very good reason for telling you their story. It is often easy to dismiss another person when they don't make sense to you or perhaps are talking about something uninteresting. Often the only reason for talking is to connect with another person. By following these simple tips, your communication effectiveness will grow and your relationships will improve too. Doesn't it feel good to be understood? Try giving that understanding to others by mastering the art of listening. Get more tips by reading my article Master the art of listening to overcome your communication problems.

Self-Care Vital When You Live with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome

Sunday, January 18, 2009


My new book will be available soon! We’re brainstorming different titles that make it clear that the focus of the book is how to care for yourself when you live with a partner that has Asperger Syndrome (AS). This type of relationship can be extremely taxing and lonely. Here are a few tips that I recommend that can help you deal with a spouse or child with AS: 1. Education Educating yourself about this form of autism is crucial. It will help you to better understand the disorder and find ways to cope with it rather than resent it. New research and information is constantly coming out, so stay up-to-date. 2. Find local support groups Finding others who understand and are dealing with a similar situation can prove to be a vital support system. It will provide you with more resources, education, and also comfort. 3. Take time for yourself It can be very easy to focus all of your attention on your loved one and leave nothing left over for yourself. Be sure to take time to recharge. In order to give to others, you must give back to yourself. Be involved in activities that you enjoy and keep up your other relationships and friendships. You need solace too! 4. Seek professional help Your loved one may already be meeting with someone regarding their disorder, but you may also need additional support as a loved one. If you are feeling depressed or overwhelmed, contact a health care professional. For more information on my book or to set up an appointment with me, please click on these links. http://kmarshack.com/publications/as/index.html http://kmarshack.com/contact.html

People with AS aren’t as influenced by emotional information

Friday, January 09, 2009


Asperger Syndrome is referred to as a high functioning form of Autism. Asperger Syndrome (AS) is demonstrated by deficits in communication, social skills and reciprocity of feelings. People with AS aren't as influenced by emotional information which is both good and bad. It can help in decision making when you don't want to be swayed by emotionality, but it can be a hardship in a relationship when your partner wants you to understand how they feel. Researchers in Professor Ray Dolan's group at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at the University College London have recently spent time studying the types of decision-making skills of those with Autism. I found the results very intriguing. Those with Autism are not as likely to make irrational decisions or be influenced by "a gut feeling". "People with autism tended to be more consistent in their pattern of choices, their greater attention to detail perhaps helping them avoid being swayed by their emotions," says Dr Neil Harrison. He continues, "Less reliance on gut instincts by people with autism may underlie their difficulties in social situations, but also enable them to avoid potentially irrelevant emotional information and make more consistent choices." I am committed to helping those with Asperger Syndrome and their family members cope with the challenges. My new book on this topic will be released soon. For more information on my book, click on the link.

Tips to help achieve harmony in the family business

Thursday, January 08, 2009


When family members work together, it often turns into all work and no play. The personal side of the family/business relationship is taken for granted. How can these things be prevented? Remember that if you work in a family firm, most of your interactions with your family involve work. You need to give at least equal time to the personal side to keep communication, trust, love and respect healthy. Here are some tips to help achieve the perfect balance: 1. Take time away from work every day to talk with your family/business partners about something other than work. You might start the morning with coffee and sharing the crossword puzzle. 2. At least quarterly, arrange a retreat for the family firm that involves playing, such as a trip to the mountains to ski. 3. Discuss all problems no matter how small, whether they are work issues or not. 4. Allow for individual differences. Allow members to speak up in disagreement. Just because you are family and work together, does not mean you are all joined at the hip. So make room for new and different opinions and ways of doing things. 5. Hang in there when there is a problem. Don't give up until you have a solution to the problem that is a winning one for everyone. 6. If things get out of hand, ask for professional help. For more information about family business, please click on the link.

Tackle the New Year with new priorities and a new attitude

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


With the New Year right around the corner, January is a wonderful time to build a foundation for the goals you want to accomplish this year. Many throw themselves into new projects come January 1st, but then find that it is difficult to accomplish them. Here are a few tips to help you gain a better understanding of how to make New Year's Resolutions that actually stick this year. 1. Let the New Year bring self-acceptance. If you can appreciate who you are, that each and every day you are making a valuable contribution to your community by just doing your everyday thing (not overachieving), then you will have a much more prosperous new year. You will notice your talents more and strengthen them. You will notice your flaws more too, but you can build a plan to correct them. 2. Change your paradigm. Instead of focusing on what's wrong in your life, pay attention to what is right. Accept that you can't change the past, but you can learn from it. Trust that you have the resources within yourself to make the changes you need and want to make. 3. Self-acceptance turns crisis into opportunity. If you recognize that life is a complex and problem-filled arena designed to assist you on your quest toward wisdom and maturity (just as it is for everyone else), then when you have a problem you'll face it squarely with full self-acceptance. You'll dig in, assess, diagnose and search out the meaning. You will use all the strengths at your disposal to create workable solutions. At the end you'll be a little smarter, a little wiser, a little stronger, a little saner. I wish you a Happy New Year!


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