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Kathy Marshack News

Hapa Aspie – How Can We Help Children Caught in Between the Asperger-Neurotypical Worlds?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hapa Aspie refers to children raised in a family where one parent is neurotypical and one has Asperger’s, and they need help to cope with the mixed signals.Hapa is the Hawaiian slang word meaning half. Hapa Aspie is a term I coined for the children who are born and raised in a family where one of the parents is neurotypical (NT) and one has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a high functioning form of ASD.

Throughout mankind’s history there have been those who have been torn between two worlds because they’re the half – the half sister, the half brother, or even the derogatory term for mixed races.

Parenting children in a home with an Aspie parent is very complex, particularly if you have Aspie and neurotypical (NT) children. The NT spouse has to switch back and forth between the worlds of Aspie partner, Aspie children and NT children. This is also true for NT children (those who don’t have AS). Their world is a very confusing mix. At school or with friends, they can engage in the NT interactions that reinforce their perception of reality. At home, they get mixed signals. It’s hard for adults to maneuver the unusual world of Aspie/NT family life. Imagine how hard it is for NT children.

During crucial developmental stages, NT children who get different signals from their parents and their siblings learn to cope in unique ways that last a lifetime. Very often, NT children are lonely, depressed and feel invisible to others. They frequently develop a variety of Aspie-like traits, too. That’s not surprising, given that’s what is modeled for them. Whether by genetic inheritance or behavioral learning, NT children from these families acquire a unique perspective that can best be explained as Hapa Aspie. (Read more about how to help Hapa Aspie children in my book, Out of Mind-Out of Sight chapter 7.)

In order to free yourself from the confusing childhood of being raised by an Aspie parent…and in order to help your children keep their self-esteem in tact, we really need to look at this phenomenon very carefully. The usual parenting tips do not work. Nor does the usual divorce advice work.

The next free international teleconference will be held on Friday, October 23, 2015 at 2:30 PM PT and we’ll discuss this topic: What about the kids? Were you one? Please join us and bring your questions and share your strategies for parenting with a partner who has no empathy for his or her children (love maybe, but no empathy). Plus if you grew up with an Aspie parent as I did, this is your chance to clear the air for yourself and to give tips to those NTs still raising these Hapa Aspies.

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and need personalized counsel on helping your family come to grips with the conflicting Aspie/NT worlds, please contact my office and schedule an appointment.


New Video Conference Connects People Who Have Family Members with ASD

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

worldwide asperger syndrome video conference"Know that you are not alone."

This is the underlying message of all of the Asperger Syndrome Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetups since the group was organized over six years ago. Now it’s even more profound since members are talking together from around the world. To my surprise we have grown from a handful of people in Portland, Oregon to an international membership from ever continent.

Are you interested in knowing more about the new format for the worldwide video conference? Here are some frequently asked questions that will help you get acquainted with this new process:

Who may join the calls? Only NT (neuro-typical) members of the Asperger Syndrome Partners & Family of Adults with ASD will be approved to join the video call, as we will be discussing what it’s like to live with an adult on the Autism Spectrum or with Asperger's Syndrome.

How many will be attending at one time? Each video call is limited to Dr. Kathy Marshack plus 10 so the conversation can be more intimate.

Can I attend anonymously? Instead of using your real name, you can use a pseudonym.

Can I attend even if I don’t have a webcam or video capability? The purpose of this small group is to get real, to be seen, heard and understood like you would in an in-person support group. If you don't have video capability or are uncomfortable with this format please join us for one of our teleconferences that can be accessed through your phone.

Will these calls be confidential? Absolutely yes! Dr. Marshack is using a very secure software called Scopia to ensure your confidentiality.

Will I be able to talk with individual parties privately while the call is in progress? Yes, you can have a private text chat with another meetup member or you can talk to the entire group.

Can I use my Smart Phone to access this call? Yes! Check out this page to learn what browser and devices will work.

Will this call be translated into my language? The call will be in English only.

How much does it cost? At the time of this writing, the price is $15 USD per person. This fee is non-refundable.

How do I pay? If you are not able to pay by credit card or PayPal, please call 503-222-6678 to make alternate arrangements.

When should I login to the call? **IMPORTANT** If you have RSVP’d “yes” to the video conference please download the software one or two days ahead of time. This will ensure you’re ready to go when the video conference takes place and can maximize your time.

Depending on when you RSVP, you will receive an email invitation approximately 5-10 business days prior to the video conference date. SAVE THIS EMAIL. It contains a link to join the meeting along with a PIN number. This PIN gives you access into the meeting. Login at least 10 minutes before the conference starts.

Choose the instructions corresponding to your device/internet browser here.

How often will these video conference calls be scheduled? Two calls are scheduled per month to accommodate as many time zones as possible. They are posted for Pacific Time. Check the schedule often to make sure you get in on the topics that interest you. You can use this world clock converter to see how USA – Oregon – Portland time converts to your time.

September Video Conference Calls

Thursday, September 10, 2015 8am PDT Topic: You are not alone.

Friday, September 11, 2015 1:30pm PDT Topic: You are not alone.

Whether you live in the U.S., Scotland, Dubai or New Zealand please join us and learn that you are not alone. Regardless of culture or country, I have found that living with an Aspie adult (spouse, child, parent, etc) feels the same. It can be confusing, heartbreaking, crazy making, amusing, stressful, enlightening and more.

How as a Woman You Benefit from Having and Being a Mentor

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

women benefit from having and being a mentorBack in the 90’s I made the statement

, “Women mentoring and mentoring women will undoubtedly insure a strong female leadership in the 21st century.” This has certainly proved true as more women discover the value of working with 

business coaches and life coaches to build the lives they want to live.

Women, just as men need to be wise to the politics of corporate life. They need to have professional credentials and skills if they want a good salary or to achieve that promotion. It's just that women take things personally so those personal needs must be addressed.

My research has found that, for women, getting to know oneself in relationship to others is the foundation of life. Mentoring for them is about developing relationships and about learning as much from the protégé as from the mentor. It's collaboration, a dialogue, an evolving and developing process leading both women into a deeper relationship as well as a more advanced stage of life.

In the past the mentor was a cherished grandmother, aunt, older sister or neighbor who took the young woman under her wings and showed her the ropes. With so many fractured families this support system isn’t always available.

If there is no woman to mentor her, no mentor to relate to her personally, a young woman may hold herself back from accomplishment because of lack of confidence or lack of a mirror to show her she's on the right track. That's why being a mentor, or finding one, can be the key to success.

So just what does a mentor teach? Mentoring can cover the gamut of female behavior from dressing for success to litigation tactics to canning vegetables to dating etiquette. If you’re considering mentoring, don't limit your options to the traditional male arena. We owe it to the next generation to teach what we know. Your young protégé needs to learn how to be a woman, not just an attorney or an artist.

Principally a mentor will encourage her to believe in herself. However, young women are still in great need of learning about the career possibilities there are in the world, so if you have a unique specialty, tout it. Let young women know that there are new and exciting career realms to explore.

Please join me on my Facebook page and share your story of how a mentor helped you.

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.

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!

Oregon Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Benefits for Autistics Free Workshop

Thursday, April 30, 2015

autism SSI SSDI free workshop in Portland OregonIt can be a nightmare negotiating the intricacies of benefits offered through SSI and SSDI for our loved ones with Autism. So I’m happy to alert my Oregon readers to a free resource coming up next week. I think it’s going to be something you’ll want to attend if at all possible.

Autism Society of Oregon (ASO) is hosting a free event that will improve the lives of all affected by autism. It’s a Workshop entitled, “Plan for Work” Benefits Planning: Busting Myths on Work and SSI/SSDI Benefits. It will cover the following topics:

  • Overviews of Social Security Administration disability benefits program
  • Work incentives associated with Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid and Medicare connections to SSDI and SSI
  • Individual Development Accounts and the ABLE act.

Already registered? You may not be aware of this…there’s been such a huge response they’ve booked a larger venue and have moved the Workshop to a new location as noted below. Here are the details:

Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Time: 6:00-8:00 pm
Place: Providence Portland Medical Center

Conference Room HCC1 (Basement level)

4805 NE Glisan, Portland OR 97213

It’s a free event, but you must register in order to attend by emailing or calling 503-636-1676.

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.

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