Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Aspergers Kids and Lack of Cooperation

"Any tricks for getting a very stubborn 4 year old Asperger's child to do what he is told. He truly has a mind of his own. For example, if our requests don't make sense to him, he refuses to do what we ask, which usually results in a mother-son tug of war."

A "token economy" seems to work best for kids with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism. This is a system where the child earns tokens as a reward for desired behaviors. A predetermined number of tokens are then "cashed-in" for a privilege the child desires (e.g., a favorite snack, time for playing video games, etc.). A token economy is flexible and can be easily tailored to suit the individual needs - and desires - of the youngster.

Token economies that use money tokens seem to be the most successful with Aspergers kids in increasing their ability to delay gratification, and lessening the risk of satiation (i.e., overuse of a reward that results in the child no longer viewing it as a reward). Using money in a token economy negates the need for the child to decode an abstract concept, because in the "real world," people are paid money for completing tasks in their place of employment.

Aspergers kids take a long time establishing trust, and for this reason, a token economy should initially focus on rewarding desired behaviors and actions. Once the program has been established for a number of years, you may then be able to introduce "response costs" where the child is fined for inappropriate behavior. This correlates the token economy with real world experiences (e.g., if I drive too fast, I get a speeding ticket; if I park where I shouldn’t, I get a parking ticket). However, the focus of the program in the early stages must be on the positives, because Aspergers kids are prone to quickly losing their motivation and trust.

Be creative with the reinforcers offered as motivation. Offering a "menu of rewards" to choose from seems most successful. Initially, "cashed-in" rewards need to be fairly instant (e.g., at the end of each day). Over time, this can be stretched to the end of each week. As the child matures, this delayed gratification may be able to be stretched to a month; however, small rewards and motivators should be offered consistently along the way.

As with all strategies used with Aspergers children, patience and perseverance are the keys to success when using a token economy, but the rewards for both the parent and child are awesome!


•    After many meltdowns over laundry, he screamed "why do I have to do all of the laundry?!?." Later I explained that there are 2 of us and we each must contribute to keeping this house running, and this is something he is good at. Just like I am better at driving him around and keeping the bills paid.
•    Anonymous said... 4 can be a hard age w/out the spectrum issues. A visual chart of your expectations (show pictures of cleaning up, brushing teeth, eating dinner, and any other chores you want him to help with), you might include an area where he can make a check mark after the does it. Also, I find the more explaining you do, the worse it gets.
•    Anonymous said... Find a way for what you say, to make sense to him. They have exact balance of rationale, a type of logic not easily defeated by simple requests.
•    Anonymous said... Google Pathological Demand Avoidance - traditional ASD parenting doesn't work for it, you have to let go of EVERYTHING! The difference between being a doormat and creating a non-threatening environment full of aspirations not expectations and most importantly NOT taking it personally.
•    Anonymous said... I always like these just because they sound so much like my son (who has not gotten a diagnosis, btw).
•    Anonymous said... I always try to visually "paint" the picture of the outcome or reward vs consequences of doing what is told regardless of if it is what the child wants to do. In other words... once the homework is done we can have play time. Knowing they are working toward a goal tends to help.
•    Anonymous said... I picked up a little trick recently that worked quite well with getting my 7 to wash his hair "show me how you wash your hair" works for cleaning, teeth brushing eating etc my 3 year old works under "big girls can do that" but my boy never cared about any of those statements, good luck
•    Anonymous said... Keep it simple and stick with it. Practice what you preach, you want your child to be patient, you must also show patience (point out the times where your practicing patience). You want your child to tidy his room, tidy your room too, make it a house rule, do it at the same time, see who can finish first, make it fun. If your son is arguing at times when it's important to follow the rules, be like a teacher and say it's not up for debate, it's a rule everyone must follow etc. Keeping consistent is key so don't switch up the rules, keep them simple, make a list, put some pictures by them, make it fun.
•    Anonymous said... My guy is much more compliant if he knows the logical reason behind the request. Though I'm not as good at recognizing the need.
•    Anonymous said... My son is now 11, so I'm trying to think back to when he was 4. We didn't know then that he had ADHD & Aspergers... we just knew things were very different with him. Anyway... he's been seeing a behavior therapist over the last year. We learned that our behavior also had to change if we wanted his to improve. For example, we must be consistent with our "demands" and with his schedule. Routine is important to teach expectations of everyday life -- and to teach compliance without a huge struggle. Also we learned that if we want him to do something, it works best if we plan it so the less rewarding or unfavorable things are done first; use the rewarding/more favorable activities as a motivator. The token system might work okay... but if you try to get them to give up their favorite activity in order to do something they don't want to do... a token at that point probably won't motivate them enough to try and earn it. Routines, limits, set expectations, motivators... I've learned they are all important if you want to lessen daily struggles.
•    Anonymous said... Part of it is because he's 4. Mix a new independent 4 year old and Aspergers and we have quite a mix! One thing I learned was that I needed to stop trying to explain everything (that goes against what "new" parenting advice says, doesn't it? Ha! But I won't get into that or my opinion of it). With Aspergers, they really have to learn "good habits" whether they understand them or not. They think alot differently than us. I fell back on "Who asked you to do that? (mom), So, you need to do it." End of topic. A visual of "because mom said so" made a BIG difference. (Just a picture of yourself and the repeated phrase until he knows when you hand him that picture you are NOT backing down and you don't have to say a word. If you need to remove him from the room because of a meltdown, etc...AS SOON as he is able to join you again give him the same instruction and don't back down with your requirement. They WILL learn it over it time. Teaching of the "why" we do certain things needs to be done through social stories and etc outside of the situation...not during the situation.
•    Anonymous said... Sounds just like my youngest. Unless he is given instant reward for something he isn't interested. Even then it doesn't always work. Very difficult to find rewards he likes as this changes frequently. As for explaining consequences (eg no playtime if task not done) he simply doesn't care. Hard to get them to do what you want when neither reward or consequence seem to bother Them!
•    Anonymous said... this sort of gimmick has never worked with my 7yo aspie because no reward is worth it for her once she is in meltdown mode. What Amber is suggesting is the only way for us.
•    Anonymous said... Try changing the subject so you divert him from that emotion, then as the motion subsides you may be able to come back to it from another angle where he will see your logic of the situation. At least when not emotional they see logic very well. Doesn't always work with my boy and I often forget to try it when I should as I also get a little emotional, but it often does work well.
•    Anonymous said... we went through PCIT (parent child interactive therapy), it is the ONLY thing that worked for us!! Now, my son listens, has follow-through, and he knows that discipline is time-out & Mommy is not afraid to use it!! ask your son's therapist about PCIT & if it's available through their facility. if not, get a referral to a facility that offers it.
•    Anonymous said... Wish I did! I have one of those in my house. Ugh. Its like a steel wall to get through to her!
•    Anonymous said...I say , don't you dare go and do x, y or z ...and my 4 year old goes and does it ! Reverse psychology.I say it in a cheerful way an it works 80% of the time
•    Anonymous said…  The Incredible Years parenting programme is highly recommended
•    Anonymous said… First make sure he understands the direction. Next. Lots of notice and reminders of what your going to do.... And don't use TV shows as a reminder. The after this show gets.... Hairy. I used taped shows with no commercials (don't want something else getting in the Way).
Mine just hated having something changed last minute (I mean like 60 minutes). He will grow up to adjust. Now you need to learn about him and his triggers.
•    Anonymous said… Give him time. Be patient and calm. Do not punish, but use natural consequences. Explain why you need something done. Make sure he understands what you are asking him to do. Check if he needs help with it. Be prepared to help him until he learns to do things on his own. Look past him being autistic because this part? Yeah, that's parenthood. It's not always easy. And those of us who are autistic are usually super logical but struggle to learn to do things like tie our shoes, understand the vague concept of what you call "time", and remember what you asked us to do after the first thing.
•    Anonymous said… I have found that my little guy is very logical in his own way, so if I can sit with him and explain why I need him to do it, and answer his many questions, he gets it and does the task. It doesn't work every time, and I can't do it every time, but the difference has been remarkable. I have to make it make sense to him first.
•    Anonymous said… I have to give random directives throughout the day just to get him in the compliance mode. Like.. Tyler could you hand me that pen? Please take this to your room. (Even if these things are not necessary at the time) it's a way to start a habit of compliance. Once the child does it you then praise the behavior. Visual reward charts working for something preferred work really well too. Like 25 reward checks in a week result in .... Whatever your child really likes" Hope this helps
•    Anonymous said… Oh my goodness, this could be *any* 4 yo boy! 4yos are notoriously difficult and boy get a "fun" little surge of testosterone at that age too. 4 has been my least favorite age with all of my kids, NT or not. wink emoticon remembering to "connect before I correct" was especially crucial at that age. Framing things as "let's work together to solve this problem" helped so much, instead of "do it my way not your way".
•    Anonymous said… Rewards chart
•    Anonymous said… So hard to remain calm !! I'm going through this now , totally contrary to all our requests
•    Anonymous said… Sounds like my child who was also diagnosed with an oppositional defiance disorder components

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Helping Your Aspergers Child Succeed In School

"My daughter is 10 years old, high functioning and now in middle school. Her teachers are constantly sending me notes saying she isn’t working up to her ability and they can’t get her to stay on task or ask for help. When she’s home, I can get her to do well with homework. I obviously can’t go to school with her everyday. What are some ways the teachers can get her to stay on task without making her stand out to the rest of the class? She is also legally blind and doesn’t want to appear different in any other way."

If your daughter’s teachers expect her to respond to the predominantly visual learning methods that are used in most schools, obviously, they will not work for her. If this situation exists, no wonder your daughter can’t stay on task or ask for help. In addition, her Aspergers symptoms affect her attention span and motivation.

First of all, your daughter should be evaluated by an educational child psychologist (either privately or through the school). A full diagnosis and specialized treatment is very important, including a complete assessment of her strengths and weaknesses (including her vision problem).

Often times, children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism are expected to be able to function successfully in mainstream education, but they struggle through no fault of their own. Aspergers students are very smart, but their problems with social interaction and repetitive behaviors make mainstream education difficult. In addition, your daughter has a serious vision problem, an added cause of difficulties. Once evaluated, she can be appropriately placed in a mainstream educational program with instructional aide support or in special education.

Based on your description, it sounds as though the school’s program (whether it’s mainstream or special education) is not meeting her needs, and the teachers do not have the knowledge they need to help her. Special training and classes for them is vital, as they must address issues with Aspergers as well as her vision problem.

The school has a responsibility to re-evaluate your daughter if she is not progressing well. This is a legal, federally mandated responsibility. You should formally request the school to address your daughter’s difficulties and, with your input and that of her doctors, teachers, and psychologist, prepare a specific, educational plan to address all of her challenges. You may need an advocacy group’s help if the school is reluctant to do this.

Often times, a child with Aspergers and other diagnoses is more successful when placed in a special education classroom (or even a special school) with trained teachers and aides who provide a consistent, individualized educational program in a smaller group of students. Counseling and occupational therapy can be easily scheduled, monitored, and supported by special education teachers. The child may have the same teachers and aides for several years, increasing their understanding of her needs and maximizing her progress.

While your daughter may not want this type of placement at first (because she will appear to be “different”), once she experiences the improvement in her ability to participate in the curriculum, she will understand why a special placement may be the best option for her. Counseling may help her come to terms with the fact that she is different in some ways from other students, but that she is also very gifted, as well. 

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook 


•    Anonymous said... Her desire to appear like the other kids may be the motivator to do her best "like the other kids" to do her homework so the teacher wont single her out and get mad at her (blending) and so when the teacher calls on her she knows the answer and the teacher won't chastise her. Maybe. Does she wear any type of eyewear to help? I'm legally blind too but fortunate to be corrected with lenses - I was bribed with contacts back when I wasn't performing to my abilities and not getting my homework done
•    Anonymous said... i hear that! with my b we use positive reinforcements..home and at school.visuals, since the child is blind, obviously would have to cooperate this somehow, she has a few breaks throughout the day. small quick breaks earned has helped to keep her anxiety down, stress down and attention and academics up, she will pick a desirable thing, like computer, clay, paining whatever...then she starts her work, has a small chart/token collector on her desk, and as she completes her work she earns them. when she gets all, she gets to take a break and do what she worked for. somedays may need more breaks then others, but overall this has been a wonderful way and has worked for us at school for quite a few years now.
•    Anonymous said... IEP is the solution. Kids don't need to know and she will get all the accommodations she needs.
•    Anonymous said... My son is 15 and a sophmore in high school. He was diagnosed finally at the end of his 7th grade year with High functioning Aspergers. He is in AP courses an Athletic Student Trainer for the second year and wants to study sports medicine. He excels in his classes and things come naturally to him but can not for the life of him remember or care to do his homework. His average will drop to a 37% and the next week it will be a78% because he averages in his head how many homework assignments he can miss and still pass the class. How can I teach him how important this is for his future. He wants to enroll in a dual enrollment program next year to graduate with an associates degree but his Counselor says probably won't be able to due to he doesn't complete his assignments. ... what can do any suggestions. He has a504 plan already.
•    Anonymous said... story of my life! Does she have a 504 plan? Last year when my daughter now 11 entered Middle School we had a heck of a time. Then we received the official diagnosis and created a 504 plan with the school. It doesn't fix everything and there is still daily communication with almost every teacher, but it has helped a lot. Every afternoon she goes to skill block where an IA checks her agenda and makes sure she has all her assignments and brings home all her required homework. Then when my husband picks her up from school, he checks her agenda and makes sure the required homework books made it into her bag before they even leave the parking lot of the school. I also email regularly with her teachers to make sure she stays on task with her assignments. We work very closely with them to ensure each of us is doing everything we can to help her. For example math, at home she would do fine with math work. At school, she has a D in math and is bombing all her quizzes. We found that providing her graphing paper helps her stay organized as she is working through the math problems, and providing her a quiet place to take the quiz alleviates most of the distractions she experiences. She goes from getting a 40 to getting a 90 by those two simple changes.
•    Anonymous said... u need to call school get a IEP. My son is 12 has aspergers. He just started JR high. he was having similar problems. If the homework becomes too overwhelming u can get it reduced.
•    Anonymous said... 504 plan has to do with allergies, an IEP is for individualized education program....aka...special ed
•    Anonymous said... Getting an IEP is easier said than done. Think I'm gearing up for that fight soon... We are their best advocates.

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Asperger's: Common Questions & Quick Answers

What are some of the traits of Asperger's (AS)?
  • A child with AS wants to fit in and make friends, he just does not know how to do it.
  • AS usually affects a child's social skills, communication skills, and behavior.
  • AS is a problem of child development.
  • The child usually functions well in every day life, but he has problems interacting with others.
  • AS causes a wide range of developmental problems in children.
  • AS is a brain disorder.
  • It is one of the pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).
  • Other PDD's include Autism, Rett's syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and PDD-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
  • AS is sometimes called High-Functioning Autism.
  • Unlike an autistic child, a child with AS has fewer problems with language, and usually has average to above average intelligence.

What causes AS?
  • The cause is unknown.
  • It may have something to do with genetics, or how the brain works.
  • Parents do not cause AS.

Who can get AS?
  • Anyone can get AS.
  • Parents of a child with AS are more likely to have another child with AS.
  • It is more common in boys than in girls.

What are the signs of AS?

The signs and symptoms of AS are similar to those of other behavioral problems. It is very important that a doctor sees your child if you think he has AS.

Social Skills—
  • Has problems making friends
  • Lacks social skills
  • Seems unaware of others' feelings
  • Unable to carry on conversations

Communication Skills—
  • Cannot start a conversation or keep one going
  • May have problems with nonverbal communication or body language
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Does not use or understand hand gestures
  • Does not change his face when talking with others (e.g., not smiling when telling something funny)
  • Does not understand other people's facial expressions (e.g., not understanding why someone would smile at a joke)
  • May have a short attention span
  • Repeats a word or phrase over and over again
  • Words may be very formal and loud

  • Clumsy
  • Does not like changes in every-day routines
  • Only interested in a few things (e.g., collecting rocks, listening to music)
  • May have obsessive behavior
  • Collects categories of things such as rocks or paper clips
  • Knows categories of information like Latin names of flowers or football statistics
  • May have problems with reading, writing or math skills
  • Lacks organization skills
  • Repeats certain behaviors over and over again

How is it diagnosed?
  • The doctor will watch your child and ask you about his symptoms. How have his social and language skills changed over time? His behavior?
  • It is usually diagnosed between 3 and 9 years old.
  • The child may need to be seen by a developmental pediatrician or psychiatrist (i.e., special doctors who are trained to diagnose AS).
  • He may need tests.
  • AS cannot be diagnosed at birth.
  • AS can be difficult to diagnose because the child can function well in every-day life.
  • A doctor should see the child as soon as any signs or symptoms are noticed.

Is it contagious?
  • No. AS is not contagious.

How is it treated?
  • Treatment depends on the level of functioning of your child. A child with higher intelligence will have a better outcome.
  • Types of treatments include: (a) behavioral modification, (b) education and training, (c) language therapy, (d) medicines for specific behavioral problems, (e) parent education and training, (f) psychotherapy, (g) sensory integration training (i.e., the child is treated to be less sensitive to things that bother him a lot), and (h) social skills training.
  • It is important if all of the child's caregivers are involved in the treatment. This can include family members, close friends, babysitters, teachers, etc.
  • Your child will most likely continue to have some problems throughout his life (e.g., there is an increased risk of developing depression or anxiety), but he will be able to make friends and have long-lasting relationships.
  • With treatment, your child can learn to live with the condition. Many children are able finish high school, and then eventually attend college and get a job.
  • There is no cure for AS.

Can it be prevented?
  • AS cannot be prevented because we do not know what causes it.

When should I call the doctor?
  • Your child has a legal right to receive special services at school. Talk to your doctor or teachers for more information. They can help you decide what school setting and education plan will be best for your child.
  • Call your child's doctor, your child's school, or a support group for help. There are many organizations that can help you cope and teach you how to manage life with a child with AS.
  • Call your doctor if your child shows behaviors of AS from the signs and symptoms list above.
  • Call your doctor if you have any questions about your child's condition.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

Top 100 Asperger's Websites - 2009

1. * : Celebrating Individuality!

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The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Aspergers Syndrome.

Aspergers Children and Split Personality

"Is it common for a child with Asperger’s to have a split personality? My daughter is a really good kid at school, but then a complete monster at home. Is this normal?"

Aspergers (high functioning autism) is known to manifest itself differently with different children. Also, children with Aspergers  may react differently to various situations depending on their individual personalities. Your child may feel more comfortable with the familiar surroundings at home, and feel freer to act out more at home than in public, where she is surrounded by strangers and in a less familiar environment.

The stress of school may be relieved by a “meltdown” or other difficult behavior at home. This is a common occurrence. Quite a few kids with Aspergers are saints at school, but they soak up the anguish and then squeeze it out on their family members when they get home.

Aspergers is treated in two ways, and both of them help manage the anxiety that accompanies this disorder. The first is cognitive psychology, and the second is prescription medication. The first thing you need to do in order to help your daughter is to find a psychiatrist or psychologist who specializes in Aspergers. This specialist will be able to help you and your daughter discover the reasons behind her behavioral changes.

In addition, a specialist will help you do two things:
  1. Modify the situation or the environment in which your daughter lives in order to reduce difficult behavior.
  2. Create interventions for handling her anxiety.

Please don’t be intimidated. Changes don’t have to be complex or unmanageable. The changes you need to make might just involve changing lighting to a lower level, adjusting sound levels in your home, or creating a new schedule.

If initial interventions do not help, a psychiatrist can prescribe medications which will provide your daughter with the help she needs. It’s important to note that psychotropic (mood-altering) drugs like Zoloft or Prozac can help children, but they can also cause serious problems for children. If the psychiatrist prescribes medication, ask about dosage levels and, more importantly, side effects.

Just about all drugs have side effects, and it’s important for you to know about them so you know what to expect. You know your child better than anyone else; ask yourself if she can handle side effects like nausea, hypersensitivity, or prolonged sleepiness. These are all possible, depending on the medication prescribed.

More information about Aspergers children doing well at school - but poorly at home - can be found here: Behavior Problems At Home - But Not At School 

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook 


Anonymous said...
My oldest son is like this. I say he assimulates (sp) at school then when he hits the door at home all bets are off and he's able to breathe. Which sadly for us means it's on and it's ugly somedays!

Anonymous said...
School is structured... maybe he can cut loose at home..

Anonymous said...
Maybe he is intimidated by bigger kids at school and he is reacting at home where everything is safe and friendly. Try and get to the bottom of his school troubles as a means to calm him down.

Anonymous said...
my daughter was like that, she had to be "normal" while at school which caused her to stress out & once she was home she was able to be herself & release the stress. In her words " Mommy, you love me no matter what even if I break something"

Anonymous said...
He's also probably over-stimulated and all the tension from being so good all day is really stressing him out so he's acting out in his safe place. My son was the same way, so we send him to school in the mornings and homeschool him in the afternoons to give him more down time. It's a good balance for us but doesn't work for everyone of course.

Anonymous said...
My son has always been this way. They work so hard to hold it all together at school by the time they get home in their 'safe haven' they melt down. I'd rather it be at home than at school or elsewhere though. However, it does wear you down after awhile. I dread 3:30pm in the afternoon on school days! Hang in there.

Anonymous said...
Im havin the same trouble as soon as he leaves school it starts but they wont diagones him cus he ok in school 4 2hrs even thow his behaviour so extreme at ome we got a surport worker health vistor social worker but im gettin no were

Anonymous said...
We have similar. Oldest has diagnosis already. Middle child we are almost certain is an aspie too. But school not interested as he is a high achiever so not having detramental effect on his school work. Has recent family suituation which ment change in routine he "kicked off " worse than the oldest. Going again to gp as want referal for him. Hope they listen this time.

Anonymous said...
Its drivin me mad my son is a very high achiever 4 a 3 year old so im not gettin much luck i havnt been to gp iv gone threw health visitor do u think i sud go to gp wud i get any further?

Anonymous said...
My son as passive aspergers he's really good in school when he gets home meltdown the problem when they r good at school aspergers never picked up by the teachers my sons wasn't it was a very good freind who noticed my sons traits

Anonymous said...
ask ur gp for a common assessment framework also a ref to camhs

Anonymous said...
have u read tony attwood aspergers my consultant told me to read it

Anonymous said...
i really feel 4 u. my son is now 8 but was only diagnosed a yr ago. took me yrs of fighting, lots of exclusions from school, evn on a half day programme. they blamed my parenting!! we had all the services wiv no help 2. he used 2 c an...See More

Anonymous said...
ask the school to ref ur son to autisum team they need to know how he is at home he may be passive like my son the school never picked it up now he's 11 he's showing all the signs the signs in adam can't mix has to have rotine noise has an imaginary freind

Anonymous said...
they can't be bothered go to ur dr ask to be ref to aut consultant keep a diary over the next few months

Anonymous said...
Thank u so much 4 ur help im in a hole an cant seem to get out il get to gp monday thank u its so frustratin 4 me i need help

Anonymous said...
Iv kept a diary over 2 months they sent me on parentin courses which did not help at all they tell things to do wid him but makin is behaviour worse an he cant cope wid it bless

Anonymous said...
Thats exactly wot i had 2 do, i was fightin the system 4 4yrs, evn believd it was my 'parenting' at 1 point but my son is now in yr 3 at school n this has been his 1st full yr being full time in mainstream wivout a single exclusion!! its not jus about the diagnosis n puttin a label on your child but gettin them and u the help an support that u so need an deserve!! shudnt hav 2 b a fight :-( xx

Anonymous said...
No it sudnt b a fight im fed up of tryin to prove it as if i wantd this 4 my son i just want him to b happy an settled

Anonymous said...
Thats wot any good parent wants 4 their child n u wil get their in the end, i did and it was worth it. just dont giv in and keep going. if u need sum1 2 talk 2 then feel free 2 add me as a friend on fb, know how tough it is n 2 hav a friendly ear who knows wot u r goin thru makes al the diffrnce :-) xx

Anonymous said...
Maybe at school there's a routine, predictability & structure and maybe there's less of that at home? It was like that for us, but once we established routines for at home and stuck to them, he was better. Stay positive and good luck!

Anonymous said...
My son is 7, and for the whole of his short life I have had a huge gut feeling telling me my son is not like his siblings or other kids. I've known in my heart he has something different. He is great at school but look out at the end of the day, worst is if there was a issue. I'm now on the road to getting answers for him as he knows he is different too :-( it is hard work and I will keep fighting for him as I'm his voice. Just hard when he is not tricking all the boxes when he has assessments and is ok at school.

Anonymous said...
My grandson who is 9 is the opposite. He acts up at school and isn't to bad at home. Structure is the key, I have found. It's a never ending battle. Now that school is out, he is acting up at home again.

Anonymous said...
My son is 11 and i have only just found out that he has Aspergers, i have always known he was a bit different and have been struggling with his bad moods and difficultness at home. I also hate it how some family members think it is your parenting that causes it! It breaks my heart, as all you want is for them to be happy and settled. I am glad i found this site.

Anonymous said...
I think a lot of times our kids work so hard to hold it all together when they are out and about, and then let loose at home where they feel more safe. All the anxiety and frustration tends to get bottled up and then let out again at home.

Anonymous said...
yes. very normal. 

Most recent comments:

•    Anonymous said… article is good but this is not split personality which is a completely different diagnosis. this describes the results/effects of their situational environment
•    Anonymous said… Aspies can hold it together the whole day but then we're exhausted and need to let loose when we get home.
•    Anonymous said… Deal with this everyday , I truly think bc she tries to hold it together at school then when she comes home she relaxes in her comfort zone .
•    Anonymous said… Does anyone have a child like this who still get services in school? I really believe in OT break during the day would alleviate alot of the meltdowns we are having immediately after school and all night - but since she is doing well there they don't really want to do anything.
•    Anonymous said… Google Pathological Demand Avoidance.
•    Anonymous said… Hell ye i relate an i cant get a diagnosise cus of this so frustrating
•    Anonymous said… I am so glad I am not the only one with this problem. My son is the perfect angel at school apparently and he comes home and completely melts down over the smallest things. I too have a hard time getting his teacher to take me seriously when he acts so well behavior wise in school and academically he's ahead of his class. Only thing we get is a little bit of OT and even thats not much.
•    Anonymous said… I have the same issue with my daughter. It is not split personality. It is the fact that she comes home to decompress. She has to release the pent up frustrations of the day. We, her family, are the lucky ones that get to deal with her decompression. I am so glad that my friend Alex pointed this out to me. It made such huge sense when he did.
•    Anonymous said… I know my son does not have a split personality but this is exactly what we go through.
•    Anonymous said… I think most of us Aspie mothers go through the same thing
•    Anonymous said… I'm grateful to have her behave at school, actually. I've also tried to think of her after school meltdowns as a compliment that she's comfortable. Sounds crazy, but it's kept me from coming unhinged on several occasions. I also try to have some sort of snack or drink ready for when she gets in the car. We go home and decompress for a little while, may watch a few of HER shows. Seems to work MOST of the time.
•    Anonymous said… It's actually normal, my son has learnt that school is important and he puts so much energy and focus into school that as soon as he walks out of the classroom its on like donkey kong, I accept most of the behaviour and dont put too much pressure on him to behave at home after school he's exhausted, but I find he is better on weekends. He will eventually find a happy medium
•    Anonymous said… It's not a split personality. They just use up every speck of self-control, self-soothing, and focus at school so have none left once they get home. We dealt with this for 2 years when my aspie was in public school - since homeschooling it is no longer an issue.
•    Anonymous said… I've been dealing with the exact things Ginger and Amy described. It's hard to get services for a child who behaves well and doesn't have academic problems, even when it's obvious that her social skills make interacting with peers difficult. Just yesterday, we attended a meeting at which I was told her day services will probably be cut because she's not currently an academic or disapline problem, but oh, come back if things get worse. It's a catch-22 for parents b/c if the child does well in some areas, the problem areas won't be taken seriously!
•    Anonymous said… Keep in mind how hard it is for an Aspie to keep their behaviour "normal" in school. They are exhausted when they come home. My daughter has the same, and I always keep in mind how hard the poor thing is working on behaving like the others at school. Everyone has to be able to behave without filters or so much effort somewhere.
•    Anonymous said… Make the teachers aware that the anxiety spills over at home in the form of outbursts or meltdowns, chewing minty gum helps me daughter to keep it together at school. This is in her IEP ... Ask the doctor who diagnosed to write something to school about how your child is affected by her anxiety. Also try teaching deep breathing and when they get home just let them check out and decompress for an hour or two. They need and deserve this time to just do whatever they need to do in order to calm down... Read watch tv, play computer games, play with pets, maybe go outside and swing or spin. My daughter used to spin on swing while singing and sometimes yelling or shreiking. We all know water is often very calming for these kids, so maybe painting with watercolors or playing in the bath tub will help. And my daughter likes hugs so that pressure of a big hug can be calming as well. I know how you feel because my daughter used to come home everyday and just lose it. It's a long learning process. Stay strong. Special children are given to special parents.😇
•    Anonymous said… My now adult daughter, never formally diagnosed with Aspergers,  has all these –“split personality, fussy eater”. I was always facing the good student, and well-behaved child to my being the overbearing personality and neurotic mother diagnosis.
•    Anonymous said… My son behaves so well at school that the teachers and staff have a hard time understanding what we deal with at home. I'm glad he is well behaved at school, though. That does help... It's always comforting to hear that we are not alone
•    Anonymous said… No, its not a 'split personality.' It is merely a function of how hard she works at school, academically and socially, and has to 'release' in a safe place. She only has so much energy to deal...
•    Anonymous said… SO much so that the school thinks I'm NUTS for asking for an IEP!!!!
•    Anonymous said… This is exactly how my daughter is. Ugh... Sometimes I think the teachers at school think we are crazy!
•    Anonymous said… we experience this too and am grateful most of the time it's not the other way around
•    Anonymous said… We have sensory breaks in our Iep. But our schools just don't do them. The classroom can also do the sensory break. It's benefits everyone. I'm thinking of homeschooling. I'm tired of fighting for the simplest requests for my child. Makes me sad.

•    Anonymous said... I try to make sure my son has an hour to chill after school so that we can avoid meltdowns at home, seems to work for us! Good luck!!!!
•    Anonymous said... LOL. I have so been there!
•    Anonymous said... My daughter would be practically mute at school. She would be so stressed out but she never stepped out of line. By the time I saw her in the evenings, she didn't have much left. One little thing could be the catalyst for a major meltdown. I used to wonder why she saved it all for me then I realized that it was because she was in her safe place. Although we have become a lot better at navigating the mood swings, I definitely think that anti-anxiety meds will help her.
•    Anonymous said... Omg so normal! My son acted out at school because he knew they would baby him and had the teachers wrapped around his little finger. They didn't think he could do anything because of his autism. At home he talked more, did his chores, had no problem with changes and doing his homework. I found out when I would go to school and volunteer for parent of the day. I was shocked how he acted. I gave him the evil mom eye lol and he straightened up real fast and the teachers were shocked at what he could do and how he acted when I was around. If you can I suggest getting into the school from time to time and she how she reacts when she knows your around.
•    Anonymous said... That's a sign of an emotionally healthy child. She knows that you will love her no matter what, so you are her safe place to fall apart.
•    Anonymous said... Yep that's my ms10, mainstream schools don't get it even if they try, Aspies are individuals and Mob discipline and peer to peer communications are all fuzzed up, that's why my girl is 2 yrs behind and all the ADHD kids get the benefits.

•    Mark Hutten said… Think of it as split "comfort levels" rather than "split personality" ...make sense?
•    Anonymous said… As a non neurotypical adult I have learned to function and work in a busy, people filled environment. I love my job but the mental energy it takes to understand people and their complexities leaves me at the end of the day absolutely shattered and tired. As an adult I have found ways to help cope with 'wearing a mask' all day, but empathise strongly with these children because their reaction is often a response to the amount of concentration and energy it takes to muster bewildering situations and interactions with other people.
•    Anonymous said… As so many have already said, YES! This is my child too! He's 18 now and still saves all of his worst behavior for home. If he's had a stressful day, look out!!
•    Anonymous said… At home, she can let out her stress that she is forced to contain at school. Home is also often less structured as an environment.
•    Anonymous said… I feel like my kid holds it in at school, and then let's it go when he gets home.
•    Anonymous said… I know this story so well.
•    Anonymous said… I was the same. I was always getting in trouble at school and I was always good at home. I have Autism.
•    Anonymous said… I would also's a blessing and a curse. People are often shocked when they find out about home behavior and have trouble believing it's possible. I am thankful that he's able to manage himself in public though.
•    Anonymous said… It's called passing. Passing as "neurotypical." At least that's what I know it as.
•    Anonymous said… It's not a split personality. It's having to expend so much energy containing there little selves all day long so they don't get into trouble or get picked on for being different and then when they come home they know you'll love them no matter what so they get to unwind and blow off steam. There are techniques that we got from an OT that help get some of that steam out without bouncing off the walls or tearing up your house that are really helpful. You can also look up the wilbarger brushing technique, you have to do it consistently but it does work.
•    Anonymous said… Mine used to be like that. Then they told me it's because home is "the comfort zone" with less expectations than school. Needless to say it has turned around now and some days can be hard at home. Now they say it's because there's consistancy at home and school, and all he does is testing boundaries and looking for a reason to flip out because there's nothing to flip out about. My opinion, if he has a problem at school, something might be off. Either he's being bullied, or... there's not enough consistancy and they change a lot of things all the time, or he can't handle the pressure. You might want to take a Closer look. Those were the big problems my son had at school. Good luck xxx
•    Anonymous said… My daughter is the same. So much so.. that the school disagrees that she has aspergers x
•    Anonymous said… My kid is opposite....difficult and school and not as difficult at home.
•    Anonymous said… My son has Adhd and he is the same way.
•    Anonymous said… My son is completely like this. We're at the screening stage with CAMHS and as he's so different at school compared to home they're saying he can't have anything so can't refer him onto a paediatrician or psychologist. I'll not be letting it lie though!
•    Anonymous said… My son is the same... his teachers are flabbergasted to find out how hard things are at home.
•    Anonymous said… Poor kid is trying so hard to be "neurotypical" all day that a meltdown at home is the way they release everything they've been holding in. Sometimes immediately handing them a weighted blanket and other comfort objects the second they get home can help. Or, my son used to burn some of it off lifting weights so a physical activity might help.
•    Anonymous said… Psychologist told me he's putting on a front basically all day in school and is completely drained when he gets home so can act out or just cut himself off on his own for the evening, that's why school thinks there's nothing wrong he's gone under the radar for years because he dosent cause any trouble and his grades are OK
•    Anonymous said… Totally relate to this. Now, with a couple years of regular and ABA therapy it slowly can get better. Just today, my 13 year old apologized for screaming at me about cookies. After my initial shock, I thanked her for apologizing and told her I loved her and was proud of her for realizing and being brave enough to admit her mistake. It was a GIANT leap of progress for her. Hang in there ASD parents!
•    Anonymous said… Totally! My daughter's teacher says she can't see anything wrong with her, yet her play therapy worker at school can see her issues. X
•    Anonymous said… We had our son assessed a year ago by Cornwall ASDAT they said as he didn't tick all the 'criteria' he would receive no diagnosis. We have been struggling with at times severe behaviour for years. We waited 4 years for an assessment!!! Now have had to fight to get on Camhs list (over a year long). I am thinking of making a formal complaint. Someone told me to look into Pals... A liason service for the NHS.. Maybe of use to you?
•    Anonymous said… What others have said. Because they have used so much energy in trying to function in a school environment. When they get home, where they are comfortable, that release all that built up tension! My Mr 7, is extremely disregulated after school most days, it is exhausting!!!!!
•    Anonymous said… Yes my daughter has no problems at school but different child when she comes home
•    Anonymous said… Yes this is normal, we used to call it " Brace! Brace! Brace! For impact!" as the front door opened, he's 19 now he's not in school or employment but we are getting there. Good luck xx
•    Anonymous said… Yes! It's like Jeckle and Hyde! They fake it all day and when they get home they're in a safe place, so they explode as all the anxiety and sensory overload comes out.

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