"Is it common for a child with Aspergers to quickly and easily get upset about little things throughout the day? The least little thing will set my child off."
Children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism often suffer from different types of stress compared to other children. Stressors can be as diverse as school issues to the texture of their clothing! These kids often suffer from so many obsessive thoughts that they are stressed out by things such as noise, smell, certain textures, things out of place, and disorder in general.
These children are perceived to be quite intolerant of others as well as the environment. They become very anxious in unstructured settings and in situations where people are moving at random. They may not be able to tolerate people standing close to them. Whether it is sudden or it comes from general background activity, noise can cause acute stress, fear and even panic and, at the very least, the child may be distracted and unable to concentrate.
Each child will have his issues that stress him out. When they are younger, this kind of stress can lead to temper tantrums. Older kids can have anger outbursts or other evidence of distress when things aren’t going their way. They may swear or act-out in inappropriate ways to cope with their environment.
Sometimes a parent or siblings just needs to give in to the idiosyncrasies of the Aspergers child. They may need to keep the noise down or keep things in a specific order. Parents may have to respect their child’s need for certain clothing textures or bed clothing textures.
Lack of sleep can lead to stress in a child with Aspergers. Sleep disorders are very common. Medication or taking naps during the day may help ease the stress of sleep deprivation.
Some stress reduction techniques can be taught and are somewhat different from other stress reducing techniques. The child may need to remove himself physically from the situation causing the anxiety. A quiet environment, free from distractions and where rules are followed rigidly can do much to help the Aspie concentrate.
Carrying a favored object can also give the child a sense of security. The nature of this object can seem quite bizarre to others (e.g., a "cat's eye" marble from the road), but without it, the child may be unable to settle or concentrate. Other kids derive comfort from repeating a set ritual of some kind that can be long and complex. It goes without saying that the ritual, however time-consuming, may have to be carried out in classroom situations, and the comfort object must be allowed to be present if the child is to be able to cope with the stressors.