A diagnosis of Asperger’s (AS) or High-Functioning (HFA) not only changes the life of the youngster diagnosed, but also that of parents and siblings. Many moms and dads of an AS or HFA youngster must deal with a significant amount of stress related to expensive therapies and treatments, therapy schedules, home treatments, managing job responsibilities, and juggling family commitments.
While some children on the spectrum and their families cope well with the additional challenges that autism brings, for many others, the impact can be overwhelming. Children with AS and HFA face many issues (e.g., the persistent challenge of trying to “fit-in” with their peer group, frustration at not being able to express how they feel, daily anxiety because they can’t make sense of what is happening around them, etc.). As a result, these kids often develop stress-reducing behaviors that can make them appear odd and/or defiant. Some moms and dads even avoid taking their “special needs” youngster out to public places rather than face the reactions from those who don’t understand the disorder. This may cause not only the autistic youngster, but the entire family to become housebound.