Aspergers stress

Less Stress in Asperger’s

Aspergers Stress

The effect of Aspergers stress…

Recently I was running a workshop for people with Asperger’s families on how to reduce stress in their lives – a common factor experienced in autism families due to the nature of the condition. I was impressed with the input by all concerned but especially with the two youngest participants there – two 12 year olds who had only met earlier that day and bonded on the train journey to the first workshop. Their mothers had already met on a previous course and I expected them to be comfortable in each other’s presence and confident in participating but I assumed the boys would be shy or awkward but they were animated right from the beginning and engaged with the group right away.
Aspergers  StressI was surprised at the boys understanding when I was explaining how the unconscious mind works versus the conscious mind and they were able to contribute giving answers and examples of their own much to the amazement of the group and their mothers who were naturally proud and impressed by their knowledge. Their understanding of how the human mind works was astounding and they were eager to share their views with the group. During unconscious processes they remained very still and focused despite being excited at having made a new friend. The fact they both had Asperger’s made it all the more special having them participate so fully and articulately.

One of the biggest challenges facing young people with Asperger’s is receiving an appropriate education. The lack of support and understanding causes an enormous amount of stress not only to the individual but to their families as well. They assume the teaching profession are equipped to deal with their individual needs but sadly this is often not the case. About three quarters of teaching staff have not had even the most basic training in Autism Awareness and struggle to cope with the rising numbers in their classrooms. As a result, the young person is misunderstood as their teachers assume that their intellectual ability matches their cognitive ability. This causes the young person to become introvert in some cases, desperate to disappear into the crowd or inappropriate behaviours manifest causing disruption and upset to all concerned. Social skills can be at odds with their intellectual knowledge which can often be beyond their years resulting in frustration and misunderstanding.

Aspergers Stress

Stress levels in an ‘Aspie’ are constantly on high alert. Everyday social experiences can be like a minefield Aspergers Stressto an Aspie who does not always understand social cues. As their intelligence is often of average or above ability, they are aware of their differences which can lead to low self-esteem and if not addressed can manifest into episodes of depression throughout their lives. They feel they are living in a pressure cooker, keeping their emotions contained all day long as they try to fit in but once in the safety of their own home this can explode in a meltdown (panic attack). This of course has an impact on the other family members who often take the full brunt of these meltdowns. They live with the constant stress that little or nothing can set their loved one off and no amount of reasoning can help alleviate the household stress.
The family often seek support and advice but this is not always forthcoming as the outside world is not always aware of the true impact of what living with autism entails. The young person does not always display challenging behaviour in the classroom therefore; no additional support is thought to be required. With no back up from the education system, the families are left to deal with the fallout themselves often resulting in their own mental health and relationships being affected.
Stressed children become stressed adults
Aspergers StressHypnosis and other alternative therapies and interventions like Mindfulness can help alleviate stress levels in families living with autism. Less than 15% (less than any other disability group) are in meaningful employment despite their intelligence levels and academic qualifications as they have inadequate social skills and often lack confidence and low self-esteem. We have to address how the person with Asperger’s feels and reacts to everyday situations and put less pressure on relying on their academic ability. Teaching the parents and other family members to become less stressed will have a positive effect on the whole household including the Aspie member.
Hypnosis can help Aspies find emotional freedom to express themselves in a more positive way by reducing their stress levels enabling them to concentrate and nurture this extra ‘ability’ that they have been gifted with. They have many positive, unique qualities to offer but to enable them to flourish we must give them the tools and techniques to help them become full, integrated member of society. Reducing their stress and anxiety levels will not only enable them to lead the healthier and happier lifestyle they deserve, but will also allow their families to do the same.

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