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Kathy Marshack News

New Research Designed to Assist Young Ones with Autism Cope with Anxiety

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Living life with autism can be extremely frustrating. Experts are finding that anxiety is on the rise for children and teens with autism spectrum disorders, roughly 80% according to recent statistics. A University of South Florida clinic has been researching treatment options for young ones with autism and anxiety. According to their research, the most effective treatment they have found so far is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy addresses the way people think. The techniques are designed to change faulty irrationally thinking into more constructive, solution-oriented thinking. Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you are confronted with the irrational beliefs and offered a new way of thinking about them.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been used successfully with a variety of human problems from depression to low self-esteem to relationship dysfunction to phobias and anxiety, to writer’s block. However, as with all therapies, it is not the best solution for all people and this type of research is still new and under development. It is encouraging to see the medical community taking a more active interest in looking for ways to help young ones with autism cope with their anxiety.

Visit my website for more information on Psychotherapy Treatment Options including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Recommended Links on Asperger Syndrome

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I have compiled a list of resources that I have found to be helpful and informative in understanding Asperger Syndrome. I believe that the more information you receive the better. Of course, the content of these websites is the sole responsibility of their respective owners, but I hope is that this gives you a place to start your research.

 www.tonyattwood.com.au/ Tony Attwood is a leader in the field of research and treatment of Asperger Syndrome. This website is a guide for parents, professionals, people with Asperger Syndrome, and their partners.

 www.faaas.org Support to the family members of adult individuals afflicted with Asperger Syndrome.

www.maxineaston.co.uk/ Maxine Aston is a leader in the field of relationships and Asperger Syndrome.

www.aspires-relationships.com An online resource for spouses and family members of adults diagnosed or suspected to be on the autistic spectrum.


www.k12academics.com/aspergers.htm Detailed information on Asperger Syndrome includes characteristics of AS, living with Asperger’s, prevalence, and much more. Also includes camp listings and support services for children with AS.


http://www.wikipediaondvd.com/nav/art/a/d/h.html A well-rounded look at Asperger Syndrome including characteristics, diagnosis, history, research, clinical and non-clinical perspectives, and treatment options.


Please feel free to contact my office if you would like more information or are interested in setting up an appointment.

Dating, Love, and Asperger Syndrome

Friday, November 06, 2009


Can people with Asperger Syndrome love? Yes, they can, but the quality in which they love will be different. If you are a parent with an Asperger child, the topics of dating, love, and marriage will come up. Or you may have felt concerned about your child's future relationships. Well, there are things you can do now to help your child grow to be more successful in these areas.

First and foremost, it is important that you are very familiar with Asperger Syndrome and the type of issues your child will face in social situations. By understanding what is happening to them, you will be able to identify opportunities that you can use to teach and train them to interact with others. Encourage social activities and talk to them about how they can connect with people.

For more suggestions, I recommend Dating, Marriage & Autism by Stephen Shore. I appreciate Stephen's expertise both as a professional and as a person with Asperger Syndrome himself. Stephen was kind enough to write the forward to my book about adult Asperger relations, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?.

Take the time for your child now. Yes, there will be struggles in his or her life, but with support and guidance it is possible for them to grow up and love.

Help Your Child Cope with Their Asperger Sibling

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I have written a lot about the impact of Asperger Syndrome (AS) on a marriage – particularly from the perspective of the spouse of someone with Asperger's. It's very clear that the spouse will be affected and self-care is vital. (See previous blog - Self Care Vital When You Live With A Partner With Asperger Syndrome.) You may be wondering if the same principle applies when it comes to a child with an Asperger sibling. The answer is YES! It can be especially challenging for a child to deal with their AS sibling. With the AS child’s limited social interactions, lack of emotional reciprocity, and preoccupation with him or herself or a particular task, can make playing with siblings extremely difficult. This could lead the non AS child to feel confused and frustrated . . . even depressed. As always though, there are practical steps that parents can take to help both children. Here are some helpful tips: 1. Spend one-on-one time with your child. The AS child can suck a lot of your time and energy possibly making the other child feel neglected. Make sure you give them special time and attention. This is beneficial for both parent and child. Also, make sure that NT child has a well-rounded group of playmates. It is important that they have balance when it comes to fun and recreation. 2. Educate yourself and your child about Asperger Syndrome. This will help you both understand where the Asperger child is coming from. It will also help the NT child to develop compassion for their AS sibling rather than grow resentful. My book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?, was written to assist the spouse of someone with Asperger's, but I also recommend it for parents with Asperger children. I have received positive feedback from parents who have read it and found principles that apply also to dealing with their children. (See previous blog - Unexpected Feedback on My New Book - Going Over the Edge?) Another good resource is The Parenting Aspergers Blog - http://parentingaspergers.com/blog/. 3. Counseling from a mental health care professional. There is nothing negative about taking your child to receive extra assistance to help them cope with their sibling. In psychotherapy they can learn specific tools, build self confidence, and also have a safe environment to share their thoughts and feelings. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, feel free to contact my office for more information.

Living Life with Asperger Syndrome - A Surfer's Story

Monday, October 19, 2009


I am always touched to read a positive story about someone with Asperger Syndrome. Fortunately, I keep coming across more and more. The recent article in USA Today, Surfer Marzo rides the waves of the ocean and autism, was a great example. It is the story of Clay Marzo, a 20 year old surf prodigy from Hawaii. In 2007, Clay was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS). Instead of looking at Asperger Syndrome as a hindrance, it was the gift that has made Clay one of the most incredible surfers in modern times. Jaime Tierney directed a surf film about Clay and was actually the one who recognized that Clay might have AS. He said, "Clay is so good because he has Asperger's, not in spite of it. His level of focus in the wave is incredible, he makes instant natural connections with the water, something very few people have." Of course, living with Asperger's or living with someone with Asperger's is no walk in the park, however it's important to remember that the way we choose to look at something will change the way we feel about it. Yes, Clay Marzo may have an abrasive personality and connecting with him may be difficult, but you can choose to focus on his talent, devotion, and creativity. I’m sure we will continue to hear more about Clay in the near future. I also encourage becoming familiar with the symptoms of Asperger Syndrome. If we are able to understand more about it, we will grow to be more appreciative of what people with AS have to offer. Please read my Frequently Asked Questions about Asperger's.

Asperger Syndrome and Famous Figures from the Past

Friday, September 11, 2009


Just in recent years Asperger Syndrome (AS) has become a more common diagnosis, however many adults still go undiagnosed. Studies suggest that AS is considerably more common than "classic" Autism. Now with a surge of new information on Asperger Syndrome, researchers are seeing symptoms of AS in famous historical figures from the past. BBC News wrote an fascinating article containing Asperger research by Cambridge and Oxford Universities. These researchers strongly believe that Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton had Asperger Syndrome. The article focuses more on Albert Einstein and how he exhibited textbook AS symptoms. Simon Baron-Cohen, professor at Cambridge and renowned author about all things autism, commented in the article about Einstein's passion and social challenges. This type of research gives so much insight on the kind of success that’s possible with AS. To read more about symptoms of Asperger Syndrome, visit my AS Frequently Asked Questions.

Thrilling Possibilities for My New Book

Friday, August 28, 2009


In honor of my daughter's graduation from high school and my birthday, I have planned a holiday to Greece in September. It is somewhere I have always wanted to visit and the time has finally arrived for it to become reality. While there, I have decided to visit the Greek Society for the Protection of Autistic People. While communicating with them to plan a visit, an interesting development arose. Prof. Sophia Bonanou of the Greek Society told me that they are working on acquiring books on autism in English and then translating them into Greek. I was then asked to send them a copy of my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge? Practical Steps for Saving You and Your Marriage, to be considered for translation. I'm still awaiting for their response on the book, but to know that there is a possibility for this information to reach more people is such an exciting thought. I'll continue to update you on new developments.

Interview About Asperger’s Relationships on Portland's KXL News Radio

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I was recently interviewed about my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?, on Portland's KXL 750 News Radio Weekend Morning News. I enjoyed the interview and the opportunity to share what life is like for those who love someone with Asperger Syndrome. If you would like to hear my interview, visit http://www.kmarshack.com/meet/multimedia.html and click on the first audio clip. Enjoy! Don’t forget if you would like a sample chapter of my new book, a FREE download of Chapter One is available. Thank you for your continued support.

More on Gary McKinnon

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The Herald British Press, recently published more on Gary McKinnon, the computer hacker. For more information on the story behind Gary McKinnon please read my earlier blogs about him: Should a computer hacker with Asperger Syndrome go to prison? and Should Asperger Syndrome be used as a defense? The Herald seems to be very supportive of Mr. McKinnon and believes that he should not be extradited to the US to stand trial. However, the British Courts have upheld the extradition order as legal. In 2003 Mr. McKinnon was offered a plea bargain of about three years in prison and after six months of jail time in the US  he could return home. He refused the deal. I suspect that he hoped he would not have to leave England and never serve any time. Do you really think Mr. McKinnon was just innocently searching for information on little green space men? This is just one of the personal messages he left when he hacked into the Pentagon computers: "US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days . . . It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand-down on September 11 last year . . . I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels . . ." After reading this message, I doubt you will think McKinnon is just an innocent prankster. Does it sound to you like this man was only seeking information on extraterrestrials? Mr. McKinnon needs to stand trial for his admitted crimes, but I also maintain that he needs to receive evaluation and treatment for his developmental disorder.

Hollywood Experiencing an Explosion of Interest in Asperger Syndrome

Saturday, August 08, 2009


In one of my earlier blogs, I wrote about how excited I was to hear that Hollywood had taken an interest in Asperger Syndrome with the new movie, ADAM. Amazingly, that was just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to ADAM, there are two other movies - one this summer and one next summer - that are also based on Asperger Syndrome. The other movie out this summer is an animated film entitled, Mary and Max. Like ADAM, it premiered at the Sundance film festival. Mary and Max is based on a true story of a relationship between a middle aged man from New York with Asperger's and his unlikely pen pal, a little girl from Australia. The original idea for the movie came from Adam Elliot who was the young pen pal to the man with Asperger's. He wanted to share his 20 year friendship with the film world. The second film is still untitled and will debut on HBO in 2010. The story is based on the life of Temple Grandin, a woman with Asperger's who became a professor at Colorado State University. Temple Grandin has written books on autism. In the past I have recommended her book , The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspective of Autism. I look forward to seeing her story played out onscreen especially since it is from the perspective of a woman which is different from the other two films. For more information on these films, I recommend the New York Times article Asperger's Syndrome, on Screen and in Life. Continue to check my blog for my "reviews" once I have seen these movies. Unfortunately, they are not currently available in my area.


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