CONTACT MY OFFICE:
(503) 222-6678 - Portland, Oregon
(360) 256-0448 Vancouver, Washington
   info@kmarshack.com

Therapy

ADD & ADHD
ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
ASPERGER & MARRIAGE
COUPLES IN BUSINESS
DEPRESSION & STRESS
ENTREPRENEURIAL LIFE
EXPAT ONLINE THERAPY
HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE
MARRIAGE COUNSELING
MIND & BODY HEALTH
PARENTING
PERSONAL GROWTH
RECOMMENDED LINKS
NEWS CENTER
ONLINE STORE
Overview
ADD in Adults
Parenting a Child with ADD
Overview
Articles
Overview
Coping with Anxiety Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Overcoming Depression
Managing Stress
Conquering Fears & Phobias
Overcoming Social Phobia
Overview
Couples at Work & Home
Dual Career Couples
Families in Business
Overview
Recognizing High Conflict Divorce
Overview
Conflict & Communication
Infidelity
Couples at Work & Home
Love, Sex & Intimacy
Maintaining Strong Marriage
Dual Career Couples
Codependence
Advice for Singles Only
Overview
Alcoholism Recovery
Stop Smoking
Weight Control
Headache Relief
Holistic Health
Managing Blood Pressure
Releasing Unresolved Stress
Overview
Am I a Good Parent
Blended Families
Gifted Child
Coping with ADD/ADHD
Adoptive Families
Overview
Gifted Adults
When to Seek Help
Psychotherapy Options
Laid-Off from Work
Overview
Calendar of Events
Media Coverage
Newsletter
Press Center
Seminars
Related New Stories
Subscribe
Sample
Enriching Your Live Archive
Entrepreneurial Couples Archive

Enriching Your Life!

Sign up for my FREE newsletter! Get practical tips for you and your family.

Kathy Marshack News

Exploring the Link between Cesarean Births and Autism

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


link between autism spectrum disorder ASD and cesarean birth C-SectionsMuch research is being done on the long-term affect of cesarean section deliveries. They’ve discovered that children born by C-section have fewer good gut bacteria, which makes them more prone to asthma, allergies, Celiac Disease, or Crohn Disease.

Researchers once again link C-sections with autism in a way that might surprise you. According to Autism Speaks, “the largest-ever study of a suspected link between cesarean delivery and autism confirms an association but suggests that it’s due to a shared trigger. In other words, the C-section procedure itself does not appear to increase the risk that a child will develop autism. Rather, one or more common, underlying factors may increase the likelihood for both.”

A recent study reported on in the JAMA Psychiatry confirms previous findings that “children born by C-section are approximately 20% more likely to be diagnosed as having ASD. However, the association did not persist when using sibling controls, implying that this association is due to familial confounding by genetic and/or environmental factors. “

They conclude that C-section doesn’t cause autism. Rather some unknown genetic or environment factor is responsible for increasing the risk for both autism and C-section.

The hope is that with continued research scientists will find out why autism is so prevalent. According to the latest estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, about 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

While this research is fascinating, if you have a loved one that has been diagnosed with ASD you will also benefit from learning how science is unlocking the key to understanding Asperger behavior. My book, Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD), explores the science behind Asperger’s. If you want to understand your Aspie better, this is a must read.



Is Misplaced Guilt in Your Relationship Ruining Your Happiness?

Monday, July 20, 2015


misplaced guilt in your asperger ASD relationship ruining your happinessGuilt is a powerful and useful emotion when it moves us to right a wrong. For example, we apologize when we make a mistake or fail to follow through on a promise, because we realize we’ve hurt someone and want to restore good relations. Most of the time, guilt is a moral compass that tells us when an action is right or wrong.

However, feelings of guilt can become one of the biggest saboteurs to our happiness. I’ve seen this to be especially true for those in a relationship with an Aspie partner. Since those with ASD struggle with empathy they probably don’t realize their actions foster extreme guilt that makes their partner feel unworthy of being happy. Yet sadly this is often the case in an Asperger/Neuro-Typical relationship. Why?

It's a common theme for many dealing with stressful relationships to feel guilty for even the smallest of mistakes. They become hypersensitive, feeling as if these mistakes actually contributed to the major problems they’re having with their spouse. But it's just not reasonable, especially when you know that friends can forgive you for your faux pas and character defects.

It's a survivor trait to feel excessively guilty. It keeps us searching for solutions. As a form of codependency, guilt insures that you will take more than your share of responsibility for the problem and continue searching for answers long after there’s no point.

Guilt also keeps alive the hope that all is not lost. In others words, if you believe it's your fault, then all you have to do is correct the error and all will be right in the world again.

The problem comes when your Aspie accepts none of the responsibility and you do the opposite. How can that ever work? This hugely important topic will be discussed at our next Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Teleconference on Friday, July 24th at 2:30pm. We’ll uncover why you feel guilty in your relationship and how you can set yourself free. I hope you can join us.

Should Autistics Drive a Car?

Thursday, July 02, 2015


should those with autism spectrum disorder drive a carThere are so many things that Neuro Typicals (those without Autism Spectrum Disorder) take for granted. For example, it’s usually not a big thing when your spouse takes the wheel, unless he or she is a really bad driver. And even when your teen first gets behind the wheel of the car and starts driving, you may be only a little apprehensive.


But when you’re dealing with someone who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, this situation can become filled with anxiety. And when you add to the mix a divorce and your ASD ex is allowed free reign to drive your children, it can become a nightmare.

Drexel University has published its first study on the driving behaviors in adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. They asked those with ASD how they felt about driving. They found that many regulate their own driving. For instance, some won’t drive on the freeway while others won’t drive at night.

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute is funding further research. In the next phase, the team is using driving simulation in Dr. Maria Schultheis’ lab to examine actual driving performance of adults on the autism spectrum. If you’re interested in enrolling in these studies, contact schultheis@drexel.edu.

Interactive Autism Network points out the many with higher functioning autism can drive safely if they’re given extensive training. Processing the big picture of multiple events rather than focusing on one detail at a time is one challenge they must overcome. As well as staying calm and not getting overwhelmed and shutting down in stressful circumstances.

New York Times also reports on the challenges of driving with Asperger's. Parent of ASD teens are concerned about “their ability to concentrate, to understand nonverbal communication and to handle the unexpected.” Their rigidity in obeying the rules may cause them to lack flexibility in emergency situations. Some autistic adults have terrible road rage when other drivers violate the rules.

All of these articles stress the importance of personalized training so those with ASD can drive safely if they choose to do so. Is this an issue in your home? Would you like an objective professional to give you feedback on your concerns? If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office so we can schedule an appointment and assess your situation.

For further information: Remote Education on Asperger Relationships.

How will Your Divorce Affect Your Children with ASD

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


how does divorce affect my child who has AutismSo many marriages end in divorce. This is especially true when there’s a daily strain from the special needs of autistic children. While I can’t determine how many special needs children have been affected by divorce in Oregon and Washington, I did find the following statistics:

During the first six months in 2015, Oregon has processed 3,098 divorces involving children 18 years of age or younger. Current Washington State statistics are not yet available. We do know that during 2013, Washington State processed 25,395 divorces and annulments.

This means that the potential is high for these extremely vulnerable children to be exposed to Divorce Court or child custody hearings. And while the judge and attorneys try to make decisions in the best interests of these children, they often apply rulings to autistic children that actually may harm them.

Take for example a Psychology Today article by Chantal Sicile-Kira. She discusses an example where custody of a child is usually split 50/50 with each parent. People knowledgeable about Autism and Asperger's Syndrome have shown that breaking an ASD child’s routine and structure is detrimental to him or her. Of course, the Family Court System knows that all children need structure and routine, and they have a set of standards that meet the basic needs. Yet they are often unaware that this basic structure is not nearly sufficient to meet the needs of autistic children.

The court system has found it helpful to enlist the expertise of psychologists specializing in Autism and Asperger's Syndrome to give testimony as to the best interests for these children. These trained professionals help the judges and attorneys understand the critical importance of the special needs and practical ways these special needs can be met.

The Psychology Today article also provided three vital questions to ask a prospective attorney if you’re faced with a divorce or child custody hearing:

  • “Do you have any experience with divorce involving special needs children, in particular autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?”
  • “In past cases, have you been able to convince the Judge to take the child’s special needs into account when considering ‘the best interest of the child’?”
  • “Are you aware of the complex needs of a child with autism as they grow older, and how these complex needs should be considered in the Matrimonial Settlement Agreement?”

Are you facing a Divorce Court or custody battle in the near future? Please seek the assistance of a mental health professional who can help your children adjust to their new circumstances, as well as help the Court understand your child’s special needs.

I’m licensed in psychology and social work, so I can provide this service for families in Oregon and Washington. I’m eager to educate and consult with those in the legal profession so they can make the best decisions for children with ASD. Please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Also check out my Remote Education on Asperger's Syndrome.

Do You Need Empathy in order to Love?

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


empathy plus love means husbands and wives show their feelings through words and actionsAre you in a relationship where you intellectually know that your partner loves you, but in day-to-day living there’s just not the emotional connection, affectionate physical touch or even conversation? Perhaps your spouse even gets angry when you express emotions? This is the life neuro-typicals live with their Asperger mates.

Is it possible to love if you don't have empathy? Is it possible to feel loved by your partner who may have an empathy disorder? Is it truly a loving experience if your ASD partner feels love in his or her heart but doesn’t share it with you?

I think of love as a verb rather than a noun. As an action, love is not really love unless it is shared, accepted and returned. This is the loving flow we have all experienced when we are in the presence of someone with empathy. Even if there are many other types of love, such as love of God and Country, or love of a book or favorite past time, the type of love that hangs up Asperger/NT relationships is the loving exchange between two people who empathize with each other.

Many Aspies are offended by the notion that they aren’t capable of love. Of course they’re capable of love, but it feels differently to those of us with empathy. One Aspie told me that she believes she has empathy because she feels love for family and friends and feels very comfortable in their presence. However, she seems totally unaware of how these loved ones feel in her presence. In other words, the love is in her heart but not shared. And as long as her loved ones make her feel comfortable, it ends there. She is puzzled that people pull away from her from time to time, and chalks it up to the belief that people just don't like to be around a depressed Aspie.

We can't discuss this topic too much because empathy is the center pin to everything Aspie. Please join us during the next Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Teleconference. It will be help on Friday, June 26th at 2:30pm. Your relationship may be troubled, but there is hope.

Learn more on my website: Asperger Syndrome and Relationships.

Big Announcement! Video Conferences for Partners & Family of Adults with ASD

Monday, June 01, 2015


Dr Kathy MarshackYou may have noticed that there isn’t a Portland Asperger Meetup scheduled for June (There is going to be a teleconference.) and you may be wondering why.


 Well, I’ve got great news! Our international teleconferences have gone so well, I’ve decided to provide monthly video calls too.

We’ll cover similar topics, but you’ll have the chance to interact more with each other, "face to face," because I’m limiting the participants to 10. Only our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD members may attend these video calls so you’ll be able to speak freely, knowing you’ll receive understanding and support. These video conferences are totally confidential too, as I use a HIPAA compliant software (not Skype).

Instructions on how to sign up and attend will be posted at our Meetup site. However, it's pretty simple. If you have a computer and Internet access, you can participate. Plus my assistant is available to answer technical questions.

The fee for the video conferences is very affordable, since I’m giving a special discount for our members only. It’s a small fraction of my usual fee of $75 per 20-minute video call. This fee is collected to help partially defray the costs. Because I’m busy developing this new service over the summer I won't host any Portland, face-to-face Meetups. However, we’ll continue the international conference calls during the summer. Just check the schedule for date, time and topic.

I hope you’re as excited as I am about the new program. Come over to my Facebook page and let me know if you’re interested. I’m anxious to hear what you think.

Not a member of our Meetup yet? If you’re a Neuro-typical person who has a family member with ASD and you’d like support in coping and improving your situation, then you qualify to join our meetup. Click here to learn how to join for free.

Do you have something you need to talk with me about personally? If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment so we can find a solution to your problem. If you live out of the area you can take advantage of remote education – learn more here.

Do You Feel Oppressed in Your Asperger Relationship?

Monday, May 11, 2015


"de Oppresso Liber." This motto comes from the elite US Army special forces unit, the Green Beret. It means Free the Oppressed or Freedom from Oppression. I think it could also be the motto for our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group.

Meetup after Meetup I hear our members comment how relieved they are to find us and to know they are not alone. I’ve also received dozens of grateful emails from people who have read my two books, stating that they had no idea anyone understood the oppression they live with.

This group is not about complaining, but about setting ourselves free. It's about acknowledging that we have become tangled in the web of Aspie reasoning. . .so tangled that we have become sick, drained, confused, depressed, lost, enraged, you name it. After acknowledging the truth about what we have become and why, the next step is to free ourselves.

In addition to the Portland location, members are setting up local groups around the country. If you’re a Meetup member and want to start a group in your own location, let me know and I can post it to the Meetup calendar. As of now, there are Meetups in the SF Bay Area and Virginia. The best thing to do is to join the Meetup group so you can find out if there’s one near you plus, it gives you access to the teleconference. You can enjoy that from anywhere on the globe.

A number of the members have spoken about not having a safe, undisturbed place to listen at the time of the live call. Did you realize that there are recorded episodes that you can listen and learn from too?

The next local Meetup in Portland, Oregon for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group is on Saturday, May 16th at 1:00pm. Or you can catch the same topic on the international teleconference on Friday, May 22nd at 2:30pm. Let's meet to discuss the steps you’re taking to win back your life.
De Oppresso Liber!

Two Keys to Unlocking More Romance in Your NT-AS Marriage

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


helping your asperger husband be more romanticLove and romance are basic human needs yet they are so very complex. Movies, TV and books raise our expectations to “happy ever after”. But no relationship thrives without both parties working at it. Especially is this so when one partner has Asperger Syndrome.

Recently, I wrote an article for PsychCentral that discussed the challenges that NT-AS partners face and what can be done to create a greater sense of connection. (NT refers to the partner without Asperger’s Syndrome. It stands for neurotypical.) Let me share some highlights…

Firstly, it’s important to remember that Aspies do love. They just love in a different way. What are some things you can do to increase romance in your AS-NT marriage?

1. Non-Aspie partners – don’t take your Aspie partner’s actions (or lack of actions) as a slight or personal affront. See it as an area for further communication. Not being romantic isn’t a hurtful decision they make. When the neurotypical more accurately understands the actions, or inactions, of their Aspie loved one, feelings get hurt less often.

2. Help your Aspie create his/her own rules of engagement in order to act in ways that really matter to you. This personalized list tells the Aspie what to do and when – without them needing to understand the incomprehensible “why.”

Does this really work? One Aspie husband explained it to me like this, “I just can’t say or do the first thing that pops into my mind. It might be all wrong. It’s like I need a ‘politeness checker’ running in the back of my mind to remind me to be a gentleman.” This marriage was strengthened when he and his wife wrote down rules about appropriate engagement in a notebook. He keeps it with him and refers to it frequently for guidance. Without that tool, he says he’d be lost.

Aspies may not understand why something is important to their loved one, but learning to make the effort, the gesture, represents good intention and love, just a different kind.

If you want to make sure your ASP/NT marriage fills the needs of each spouse, you have to frankly talk about what those needs are. Many have found that consulting with a mental health care professional can facilitate this conversation. Are you ready to take that step? If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. Even if your Aspie mate doesn’t want to come with you, we can still find ways to improve your situation.

What Happens to Autistic Children Aging Out of School?

Monday, April 20, 2015


what programs are there for aging out autisticsAccording to experts, within the next 10 years, an estimated 500,000 autistic children will become too old for education through the local school districts. At the age of 21, these children graduate and have to find their own way in the world that is ill prepared for them.

Autistics (the term they prefer to be called) don’t grow out of their disability. So losing their structured routine is terrifying to them. It can undo the progress they’ve made and send them spiraling back into self destructive or isolating behavior. Many parents who have already experienced this describe it as falling off of a cliff or even being pushed off of a cliff.

Recently on a must-see Dateline Show, On the Brink, they followed the stories of two autistic boys for three years, chronicling their experiences as they aged out of the school system. The struggle these families go through in order to find specialized care for their sons is both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

It’s required that each school district has a transition plan, a set of measurable goals to prepare autistics for adulthood. The reality falls far short of what is needed.

Let’s raise awareness of this issue and give continuing support to those we know personally in addition to everyone across the nation who struggles with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It’s a growing problem that we cannot afford to ignore.

I realize the caregivers of those with ASD need extra support and comfort as they carry a heavy load. I’ve formed a supportive network through international teleconferences and local meetups called Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Familiy of Adults with ASD. And I’m happy to now let you know that there are groups forming around the country so you may soon be able to meet in your own local area. Check here for the currently scheduled meetups. Please come and join us. You’re not alone.

Listen to the full Dateline Show here.

Check out Autism Speaks Transition Tools here.

The Spring Day is so Beautiful…Why Do I Feel so Depressed?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Now that the days are longer and the sun is shining more do you feel energized and happier? Surprisingly, many will answer, “No!” Why is that? This may really surprise you…did you know that the largest number of suicides each year generally occur in May?

Why, if the weather is better and everything looks so hopeful and renewed, do some people react so miserably? While many are feeling more energetic and hopeful, those with depression feel a mounting pressure that they should be feeling happy too. And if they don’t they can plummet into a deeper black hole of hopelessness.

Springtime depression is also connected with change. And highly sensitive people struggle with change. This is especially true for those on the Autism Spectrum. They also suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), seasonal allergies, circadian rhythm disorders, etc. Hence, they are more prone to depression in the spring. There are lots of changes in the air as spring arrives. It is hard enough for us to respond to all of these changes, let alone our Aspies, who are much less adaptable.

Join our next Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD local Meetup on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 1:00pm PST or our international teleconference Meetup on Friday, April 17, 2015 at 2:30pm PST. We’ll discuss this topic: Do you or your loved ones get springtime depression? Learn how to manage your own emotional flux during this time of year while, at the same time, helping the rest of our family members.

In fact, this emotional roller coaster occurs not only now, but is at play during the full moon and other times of the year, so this information is going to be invaluable for you and your family. If you have soothing tips and cognitive reframes that help you during the springtime, share your stories. We can all use a boost to help us ride the wave into summer.

Read more on my website: Depression and Stress.



Recent Posts RSS


Tags


Archive