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High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome

How Loved Ones Can Help a Child With High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's Syndrome

Family and friends can help if they understand what high-functioning autism is and know the symptoms and treatments associated with the disorder.

Family members can advocate for a child with high-functioning autism or Asperger's by being sure that the child receives medical treatment and any other services available. For example, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) requires that students with a disability be provided a free and appropriate education, which may include special services.

Other services that may be helpful include:

  • Counseling to assist with behavior therapy and coping skills
  • Finding a buddy or mentor who can give informal advice on social and communication challenges as they arise
  • Occupational therapy for any motor problems that affect daily activities
  • Speech and language therapy to address language and communications challenges
  • A 504 plan that allows for necessary classroom modifications and support

In addition, family and friends may want to seek out help and support from counselors or others who are also dealing with children who have high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome. Many online information and support groups are available.

Many individuals with high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome have found support in groups like The Global and Regional Autism Spectrum Partnership (GRASP). GRASP's members and leadership are drawn from people with some form of autism or Asperger's syndrome. Organizations such as GRASP give hope that while challenges are many, people with high-functioning autism can lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Alan G Weintraub, MD on May 12, 2013

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