Avoiding stress

People with Asperger's are usually more mildly affected than those with autism but they can nevertheless experience significant problems coping with daily life.
We have long known that anxiety is one of the key problems, and people use various coping strategies. Richard Mills - Research Autism
Often of average or above intelligence, they may perform well at school but have difficulties with communication and forming social relationships. The team from the universities of Bath and Bristol hope their findings will improve understanding of the symptoms as a response to what the child sees as a stressful situation, rather than a behavioural problem. Writing in Psychoneuroendocrinology, researchers noted children with the autistic condition do not experience the normal morning "surge" of cortisol.

Strategies can then be developed by parents, carers and teachers for avoiding situations which might cause distress.

"We have long known that anxiety is one of the key problems, and people use various coping strategies including cognitive therapy and small doses of anti-anxiety medicine," said Richard Mills, research director of Research Autism.

"We welcome these conclusions because anything that furthers our understanding of the nature of this anxiety is very helpful indeed," he added.

"We would now like to see similar work in adults."

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