It can be very difficult for a youngster with Aspergers to control his impulses and regulate his emotions. Hyperactivity, dulled responses, anxiety, and sensory meltdowns are all common occurrences and can seriously interfere with the ability to stay on task.
The symptoms and characteristics of Aspergers vary widely from person to person. Self-regulation may always be an issue with which your child struggles. However, as he continues to grow and learn, his responses may improve dramatically. Here are some things you can do now to help him find a balance and that will allow him to better self-regulate his emotions.
The first step to learning self regulation is to know what triggers certain negative responses. For instance, if play time with loud music and bright lights brings on unmanageable hyperactivity, this could mean that there is a sensory overload happening. By simply changing play time to a calmer, quieter atmosphere, you can change the behavior, which will improve attitudes for the activities that come after play time. This is not to say that loud music and bright lights should always be eliminated. It just means that the situation that follows the loud music and bright lights needs to be assessed to avoid these emotional difficulties. Dealing with sensory overload while taking a test, for example, is very unpleasant.
Here are some additional ideas that can help your child learn to self regulate:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Medications may be needed in some cases. Anti-anxiety drugs, mood stabilizers, and ADHD drugs are commonly used in various combinations to help kids with Aspergers find balance and calmness.
- Occupational therapy can help your child (and you) learn tips and techniques that will help relieve sensory overload. Something as simple as joint compressions and get your child back on task quickly and quietly.
If your child has great difficulty regulating his emotions and actions, it is a good idea to begin with medical and psychological examinations. Your child's medical team can then come up with a medical plan and therapies suited specifically for his needs.
My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns