The Connection between Asperger’s Syndrome and Mental Illness
Hotly debated ever since being introduced into mainstream America, the connection between Asperger’s Syndrome and mental illness is a tenuous one; different psychiatrists and physicians have varying opinions not only with regard to the presentation of the various forms of mental illness but also whether they are caused by syndrome or simply exist coincidentally. On the other hand, the appearance of so many difference forms of mental illness does make a compelling case for an increased presentation of such ailments in individuals suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome concurrently.
Misdiagnosis of mental illness plays a huge role in these discussions. It has already been established that peer rejection of the Asperger’s Syndrome child will lead to a general distrust of peers and therefore a withdrawal from interactions. Clinical psychologists may misdiagnose this behaviour as paranoia or paranoid psychosis, when it truly is little more than a self imposed defence mechanism against taunts and negative peer interactions. This of course is hard to prove and even harder to dispute.
In the same vein, the child with Asperger’s Syndrome whose primary hobby is a love of all things having to do with a bus may be diagnosed – mistakenly – as having delusions with respect to the immense of a bus stopping at a particular locale, when in reality he or she is simply reciting a bus schedule.
Diagnosis of mental illness in conjunction with Asperger’s Syndrome should not be attempted until the full extent of the Asperger’s symptoms has been charted. On the other hand, there is a very fine line in Asperger’s patients where a preoccupation with an idea turns into wishful thinking. It is then that the rudiments of mental illness may well take hold.
Another condition that has given rise to much speculation is the repetitive nature of many movements and verbalizations of Asperger’s patients. It is most difficult to differentiate these from those brought on obsessive compulsive disorders. Withdrawal and introversion have been considered part and parcel of a depressive illness as well, but at times they are the simple protective mechanisms against a group of peers that would not readily accept the patient as a child. Once again, diagnosis cannot be reached conclusively unless a complete history of the illness and the patient’s life is available.
Quite possibly the best course of action is a watchfulness with respect to signs and symptoms of mental illness and consultation of a psychiatrist familiar with Asperger’s Syndrome and the workings of the disorder. Whenever possible, a copy of medical records should be provided as part of the interview. This might not completely prevent false diagnoses, but it will greatly curtail those mental illness claims that are not entirely grounded in clinical reality and are more an expression of a behavioural coping mechanism.
The latter are the workings of a sound mind seeking to protect itself and the body it inhabits from harm brought to it by peer groups, while actual mental illness does not usually have this kind of foundation and instead seems to be almost random.
Helping Children Build Self-Esteem
The child's growing up years is very crucial as this stage is formative and will set the overall personality of the child as he heads towards adulthood. That is why, as much as possible, children should develop healthy self-esteem during childhood years.
Positive self-esteem would certainly be a child's asset as he moves on the journey and conquer the world's many challenges. Take note that children who have healthy self-esteem tend to succeed when facing life's negative pressures and conflicts.
Low self-esteem transforms children to become individuals who are frustrated and anxious about how the world works. Such children tend to become societal problems and deprive themselves of the many opportunities that may otherwise come their way.
Children with low self-esteem also become apparently self-critical, withdrawn, depressed and passive. They tend not to become open to challenges and natural changes and underestimate their own capability.
Before attempting to help children develop positive self-esteem, it is imperative that you first know the nature and meaning of self-esteem.
Self-esteem is self-perception and is the set of beliefs and feelings one has about him or herself.
Self-esteem is directly implicated with confidence and fighting spirit; the very significant factors that help every individual accomplish tasks and head towards achievement.
Psychologists emphasize that self-esteem begins to be manifested early in life. As a toddler, you may probably remember the sense of achievement you attain when you start learning how to stand or how to reach for objects.
It is important to note that one achievement would pave the way for another achievement. As life goes on, those accomplishments become parts of a chain that define the overall personality of a person.
If the child develops low self-esteem, he may tend to be critical of himself and doubt his ability, leaving him to just sit and not exert effort to achieving any other attainments. Such a situation is truly dangerous.
In contrast, children with high self-esteem exhibit boldness and courage to keep on trying to achieve goals. They are not afraid to try, even fail. They treat failures as learning experiences that would be of great help to achieve many other goals in the future.
Here are several simple tips on how you, as a parent, could help foster high self-esteem in your child.
Be careful of what you say. Sometimes, people tend to say out loud expressions that may be taken as comments on people. If you say something bad after learning what your child did or failed to do, like 'stupid', s/he may retain that and tag himself as stupid.
Remember, children are very sensitive to the words their parents say to them.
Try to be as positive and praise your child for any achievement, be it simple or great, he may attain.
Helping children build self-esteem
Set a good role model.
Children will always look up to you as a model, so try to act as appropriately as you can, especially when they around. They would tend to imitate your manners and deeds, so be extremely careful in setting out examples.
Be affectionate. Aside from moral and emotional support, experts assert that children need to be loved. Remember, you can never boost your child's self-esteem without making it clear to him that he is unconditionally loved. Another point, if the child perceives that his parents do not leave, he might start wondering, who else will?
That would make him feel insignificant.
Give praise. Praise your child whenever he does good deeds or achieves a simple goal. Be lavish in praise and subtle and constructive in criticism. For example, if your child fails a math test, tell him you are proud that he made his best instead of putting pressure by saying that he should have done better.
Make the home his sanctuary, his source of nurturing and love. To do so, make sure you and your spouse do not stage a fight in front of the child.
A child who may witness ugly encounters may tend to be depressed and become withdrawn, leading him to a lower self-esteem.
If you think you cannot easily and effectively handle that, try seeking advice and professional help from a child or family counselor.
Do not hesitate to do the best you can to develop healthy self-esteem in your child.
It is your responsibility to raise him to become a good and achieving individual in the future.
Don't Forget to Praise Your Child
The Long-lasting Rewards of Encouragement: Don’t Forget to Praise Your Child!
How can we explain why there are kids who grow up lazy, timid, and very shy, with lots of insecurities and without self-respect? They grow up rude and don’t even respect elders including their parents as well.
How about those kids who lack intelligence?
No matter what you do, you have already provided all the books that he need, enrolled him in a good school and tutored him almost everyday, but still he has no interest in education! Why is this?
If, for instance, you are a parent who experiences this kind of dilemma, maybe you should ask yourself why! Perhaps, the fault is in you! Examine your relationship with your child. Are your efforts enough? Maybe not!
Studies have shown that those kids who normally excel in school are those who experience an abounding love from their parents. They are the ones who are well disciplined in school, healthy and lively! They are friendly, playful, and obedient and know how to respect elders.
Parenting is a big factor by which children are moulded the right way.
However, different people have different ways of showing love and care and others are very authoritative while some are not.
In parenting you should consider both being authoritative and gentle at the same time. As a parent, you should also learn how to be consistent in carrying out rules to your children. By this way, you’ll be able to inculcate in your child a sense of respect.
However, you need not always demonstrate a very strict attitude, to the point that your child becomes intimidated. It is also important that you let him practice his own authority over things. Just don’t forget to guide him. And whether he succeeds in his decisions or not, always praise him!
Regular praise and encouragement help a child develop self-esteem and confidence. These two factors determine why children succeed in whatever endeavour they are in, whether in academics, sports, music and arts.
As a parent, you feel so fulfilled when you see your child stand out, right?
But, it is not a good reason to always push your child to excel in academics if he is not good at it. The best thing to do is continuous encouragement and guidance.
Take note that not all kids have the same learning capacities.
One research about grade school students, who came from different socio-economic settings, showed that children do succeed in such activities if they are praised.
This study has emphasized that praises would not only mean recognizing their ability and performance towards their work but also their efforts to do it.
As one psychologist quoted – when you only pay tribute to the achievements of your children without seeing their effort and eagerness, you’ll put them to eventual frustration when they fall short of doing well.
Always remember that kids feel a sense of belonging by how their parents communicate certain words and actions.
They understand the relevance of doing their best by how the parents respond and react with their works.
They also learn how to cooperate outside their homes as they experience some domestic responsibilities within the family.
How to Create a Competitive Child
Creating a competitive child is an enduring process included in the pursuit of good parenting. It is impossible to motivate and train a child overnight.
Certain values and standards are understood and applied through the process of internalization and constant reminder.
It is not bad to constantly remind your children about doing their homework, just don’t sound like you are nagging them.
A competitive child is determined by his or her self-esteem and confidence. You can say that your child is competitive when he or she genuinely believes in his or her capabilities. It will definitely show in his actions and responses.
Children usually acquire self-esteem from the influence of the parents. It can be genetically acquired or learned through training and education.
If the parents don’t have confidence, there is a possibility that the children would not have it also. However, it can be developed through proper training, reminder and encouragement.
How can you promote confidence to your child?
You can simply do this by letting him know that he belongs in the family.
Showing unconditional love would assure him that he is part of the family.
Let him learn to do new things.
Allow him to participate in some household chores.
This way, he will learn how to contribute responsibly, thus will make him more confident when tasked to do things on his own.
As you follow these simple steps, you’ll see a remarkable difference.
You will notice that your child becomes more confident in doing schoolwork. Eventually, you will reap the benefits of seeing your child succeed in his life.