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Kathy Marshack News

New Location Added for Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD

Monday, December 31, 2012


Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group continues to grow. There are three locations in Oregon: Eastside Portland, Westside Portland, and Beaverton. I am happy to announce that we are moving to California!    


This Meetup will be based in the Los Angeles area, but will rotate to different locations since LA County is so large. The first Meetup will be held in Pasadena on January 26, 2013. The following month, the Meetup will be in Redondo Beach. 


If you are interested in attending, please visit the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD webpage. Don't forget you can also become an online member if there are no meetings in your local area.


I look forward to hearing about the continued success of this group! Click here to read about how to find the right support group for you and your needs. 

Recommendations from Family and Partners of Adults with ASD

Friday, December 14, 2012


Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group was a dream that I had for a long time and it became a reality in 2009. We currently have 474 online members including many from other countries. Our monthly support group meetings are going strong as well as our online message board discussion groups. The stories that pour in are amazing. They are from real people, living a real life as family or partners of an adult with Asperger Syndrome.    


Members online have been sharing resources that they have personally found helpful in regard to being in a relationship with an Aspie. I have decided to share these recommendations through my blog. Who better else to share what works than those who are dealing with it day in and day out?   


I have compiled a few of the recommended resources to share:   


Books


Alone Together: Making an Asperger Marriage Work by Katrin Bentley   

No Team Player by Judith Newton   

The Asperger Couples Workbook: Practical Advice and Activities for Couples and Counselors by Maxine Aston   


Websites   

  

Prosper with Aspergers: Autism Facts and Solutions   


The Neurotypical Site   


If you have any recommendations for books, websites, and other Asperger resources, become a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD online support group. I will continue to post these recommendations regularly on my blog. Thank you for your continued support.   


If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please join us in person on January 19, 2013 for a discussion on this topic - Should I give up?   


Click here to read additional Asperger Syndrome Recommended Links

How Changes in New DSM-5 Impact Those with Asperger Syndrome

Thursday, December 06, 2012


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is making changes to the criteria that psychiatrists use to diagnosis mental disorders. The DSM-IV edition uses Classic Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder as diagnoses.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, the "criteria will incorporate several diagnoses from DSM-IV including Autistic Disorder, Asperger's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (not otherwise specified) into the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder for DSM-5 to help more accurately and consistently diagnose children with autism." If an individual would have previously been diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome, they would now be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The American Psychiatric Associate board of trustees has approved the changes and they will go into effect on May 2013. (For more information, read Psychiatric Association Approves Changes to Diagnostic Manual)

These new revisions will impact the lives of many. Regardless of the diagnosis, Asperger Syndrome does not disappear. However, many Aspies and their loved ones are worried by this adjustment. Since they do not view themselves as autistic, they feel like it would label them as something different than they are. This revision has the potential to impact their future especially since Asperger's has recently been accepted and understood on a greater level.

For more information on Asperger Syndrome, visit Frequently Asked Questions.

Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome

Friday, November 16, 2012


Great news! My new book, Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome, is finished. I wrote this book to specifically address the unique issues that come up when you’re co-parenting with an Asperger Syndrome partner.


In this book, there are extremes on both ends such as poignant stories with deep despair along with progressive thrills of discovery. I focus on the harsh realities that NTs (Neuro-Typicals or without Asperger’s) face when co-parenting with an Aspie. I discuss the NTs’ fears and anguish and losses. I also give you hope and ideas on how to co-parent more successfully. But it is important to recognize that if we don’t reveal the dark side of these relationships, we can’t search for solutions to the all too real problems of the AS/NT family. The last thing I want to do is leave NT parents with the feeling that they are alone. Erasing that aloneness is the first step toward parenting successfully with an Aspie co-parent.

If you’re parenting with an AS partner, I believe you should learn all you can about Asperger Syndrome because information clears up the mystery of the Aspie behavior. This will help you detach from the emotional distress of reacting to those not-so-ordinary moments.

Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome will be available very soon. I am eagerly anticipating its release and will keep you updated through my blog and the Enriching Your Life Newsletter.

Until then, please download a free sample chapter! If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please join me for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Support Group on November 17, 2012. The topic for discussion is "How to Find and Work with a Decent Psychotherapist." Hope to see you there.

Tips on Landing a Job When You Have Asperger Syndrome

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Do you or someone you know have Asperger Syndrome? Are they looking for a job? Since Asperger Syndrome impairs nonverbal social interaction, landing and keeping a job can be intimidating. Would like to know how to effectively navigate through this situation?

The book, The Hidden Curriculum of Getting and Keeping a Job: Navigating the Social Landscape of Employment A Guide for Individuals with Autism Spectrum and Other Social-Cognitive Challenges, is a practical guide for teaching the "unwritten rules." These "unwritten rules" are not so obvious for someone on the spectrum. For instance, how to talk to your supervisor, networking, or dealing with frustration.

Two of the three authors are on the spectrum and can speak from experience. I recommend it for anyone on the spectrum, young or old, who is looking for work or looking to improve their social skills in the workplace.

AAPC is the publisher of The Hidden Curriculum. Click here if you are interested in purchasing your own copy.

Prepare for Traveling with an Autistic Child

Monday, November 05, 2012


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 88 children are on the autism spectrum. Because of this staggering statistic, there has been a major push to provide awareness throughout the community. In response to this growing awareness, the travel industry is taking note. 

Traveling with an autistic child can be overwhelming to both child and parent. In order to ease the stress of traveling, certain airports in the country are providing "mock boarding" experiences. This free program offers a trial run of what it is like to buy tickets, go through security, and buckling up on a plane that never takes off. Washington Dulles International Airport as well as Atlanta, Boston, Bridgeport, Manchester, Philadelphia, and Newark have offered this special program.  

TSA also provides a hotline - TSA Cares (1-855) 787-2227. Call 72 hours before your flight to let them know that you are in need of assistance. Try requesting use of the handicap line. Also, alert your airline. Keep in mind that not everyone will be compassionate to your situation. While awareness is growing, there are still many who do not understand. Do you best to be prepared, but realize there is only so much you can control. 

For more information and travel tips, I recommend reading The New York Times Article - Testing Autism and Air Travel. You may also be interested in my soon-to-be-released book,
 “Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome,” click here to download a sample chapter. 


How Genes Impact Autism

Friday, October 12, 2012


Autism is a mystery that’s slowly being uncovered by the tireless work of researchers around the globe. Current research is zeroing in on whether genetics plays a role in autism and how genes impact the brain. 

 

Researchers at UCLA have focused their attention on a genetic mutation in the MET receptor tyrosine kinase gene that has proven to cause susceptibility to Autism. According to an article in UCLA’s newsroom here is what they found:

 

"For the first time, the researchers showed that the so-called "C" variant, which reduces MET protein expression, specifically impacts the network of connections among different areas of the brain involved in social behavior, including recognizing emotions shown on people's faces. While this gene variation is commonly found in the brains of both health individuals and those with ASD, the study showed that the gene has a bigger impact on brain connectivity in children with ASD. 

 

Their findings provide new insight into understanding ASD heterogeneity — the considerable individual differences in how ASD symptoms present — which has challenged the field in developing more effective diagnostic tools and biologically based interventions for all affected children. Eventually, genetic information may be useful in identifying subgroups of individuals with ASD who may better respond to different types of treatment."

 

The more information scientists uncover, the easier it will be to find the right kind of treatment for ASD. For more information on a high functioning form of ASD - visit Asperger Syndrome Frequently Asked Questions.

 


Scientists Link Genetic Mutations in Older Fathers to Autism

Friday, September 07, 2012


There has been plenty of controversy surrounding possible causes of autism and other disorders like schizophrenia. The New York Times Online posted a particularly newsworthy article about the link between these disorders and a father's age.

The study shows that genetic mutations are higher later in life. A child born to a male in their 20's had an average of 25 mutations. The mutations grew 2 per year. A male in their 40's had an average of 65 random mutations. Mothers showed a steady rate of 15 mutations regardless of age. Experts are saying that maybe 20-30% of these mutations may be linked to autism and schizophrenia.

Experts also say that this information may change when someone chooses to have children, but shouldn’t be a reason to not have children later in life. Of course, there are other possible factors that could cause these disorders in children. For more information on the study, read Father's Age Linked to Autism and Schizophrenia.

If your child has been diagnosed with autism or schizophrenia, psychotherapy can help. Contact my office to set up an appointment if you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area.

Autism's Context Blindness

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Mind blindness has become a common phrased used to explain the lack of empathy exhibited by individuals with autism. It has been used to explain the disconnect between social and emotional cognition. The facts are clear to an individual with autism, but non verbal communication or body language is lost due to mind blindness. Understanding mind blindness has been a critical part to understanding the autistic brain. According to some new research...there may be another type of blindness known as context blindness.

Dr. Peter Vermeulen discusses context blindness is his new book, Autism as Context Blindness. Vermeulen says, "The term context has its own intriguing historical context. Context comes from the Latin word contextus, the past continuous tense of contexere, which means to 'weave' or 'entwine.'" Context shapes our responses to life. For a person without autism (referred to as a neuro-tyical in the autistic world), life is relative or depends on the context. For someone with autism, life is absolute. Absolute is necessary to certain aspects in life, but not when it comes to social interaction.

NT's are always in the process of weaving a tapestry of relationships within relationships. Other people are how we come to know ourselves and our lives. NT's feel bereft without the connecting that is so important to us. Aspies cannot see the forest for the trees.

We will be discussing Context Blindness on September 15, 2012 at 1:00 in Portland, Oregon for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. Until then, pick up a copy of Autism as Context Blindness or click here to read Dr. Vermeulen's article: Autism: From Mind Blindness to Context Blindness. This new light may prove to be ground breaking.

My upcoming book, Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Mind, Out of Sight will discuss context blindness with regard to parenting with an Asperger partner. Click here to read a free sample chapter. 

How to Ease Your Child’s Back-to-School Anxiety

Monday, August 13, 2012


With school beginning soon, parents can assist their children to get off to a good start. This not only alleviates some of their anxiety, it can also help your child build confidence and performance academically and socially.

Be Positive
It is only natural for your child to feel apprehensive about the new school year. You can help ease their worries by speaking positively about what they are going to experience this year. Get them excited about that they are going to learn. Talk about the thing they enjoyed from previous years.

Ensure Your Child Is Healthy
Summer is a good time to schedule checkups with your pediatrician, dentist, and eye doctor. Make sure your child is up-to-date on immunizations and that you have the required documentation from your doctor. Your visit with you pediatrician is a good time to discuss any concerns you have over your child’s emotional or psychological development. This will help you identify any potential issues before school starts.

Get Everything Ready
Include your child when you are getting prepared for the school year. Take them with you when you do their school shopping and let them pick out things that they like. Help them put together their backpacks, discuss lunch and snack options, and help them lay out their clothes for school the night before. Make the preparation a joint effort.

Get into a Routine
Even though school hasn't started yet, it’s a good idea to start getting into a good routine that will ease them into their school schedule. Set a wake up time and bedtime for your child. This may need to be done gradually for them to adjust. Also start with a few academic games/projects to refresh their memories and get them to prepared for what to expect when school starts.

Visit School with Your Child
If this is the first year at a new school, a visit before the school year begins with your child will help them get comfortable with unfamiliar surroundings. Help them locate their classroom, restroom, lunchroom, and let them check out the playground! Oftentimes teachers are on-site a week ahead getting classrooms ready. You may want to call ahead and see if your child’s teacher will be available to introduce themselves to your child.

Communicate Regarding Special Needs
For parents who have children with special needs, such ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), it’s a good idea to put together a packet about your child for the teacher. Take a look at the article How to Assemble a Teacher Information Packet for some helpful tips.

These tips should not only make for a smooth transition from a summer schedule to the classroom, but may also make a difference in stress levels at home. Click here for more parenting advice.



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