Sometimes my son with Aspergers reminds me of an adult trapped in his little body – mostly when he says to me “mom, I don’t understand what you mean when you say… (whatever I said) … can you please tell me again?” Wow. Unfortunately, I have just today resorted to trying a medication to help control his aggressive behavior because he’s punching his own face and slapping his legs and kicks at adults; leaving bruises on day care teachers. He just doesn’t understand sometimes that you cannot have a banana if there aren’t any. That’s one example of a reason for a blow up. Do you have any advice on how to bring him out of a flying rage?
Most of us have moments where we have to stop and regroup and try to get our behavior in check. Even the most even-tempered of us can blow up over something seemingly trivial. For children with Asperger’s (high-functioning autism), understanding their own emotions and being able to control them is more than an occasional challenge. It is an everyday struggle.
Online Parent Support, LLC has created a visual model designed to try to eliminate explosive behavior. This model uses a positive approach to behavior that takes away the ability to self-blame or blame others that can complicate those behaviors. The children who are taught using this model begin to learn to stop their behaviors, identify the triggers, and change the direction of the behavior into something more acceptable than a rage.
Using a model such as this can be very effective in helping children with Asperger’s first identify the situation and their feelings and then to help them learn new and acceptable ways of handling the situation. This system of identification and modification has been shown to be an effective way to bring about lasting change.
During this process, try to understand that your child with Asperger’s has a very difficult time understanding the world. He doesn’t understand why he can’t have a banana today when he had one yesterday. As he gets older, he will gain a bit more understanding of these types of situations and he will begin to learn to apply experiences from one circumstance to another. But these are skills he will have to learn.
Try to be patient with your son and try to be firm and consistent with your responses to his behaviors. If you react calmly to his actions and rages, this will help to temper his reactions. Be sure that you talk with him when he is calm about acceptable ways to behave and alternative behaviors to situations he has found himself in. The more you can talk to him about his behavior and his choices, the better chance he has of beginning to make the correct choices more often.