HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

Search MyAspergersChild.com

Aspergers Children and Video Game Obsessions

Question

How can I get my Aspergers child to do things besides computer and video games? He just does not want to go out and do things!

Answer

Many moms and dads speak of the same problem: their youngster spends far too much time on the computer or playing games. Video and computer games are addicting for anyone, but kids with Aspergers (high-functioning autism) are especially fond of the repetition that can be comforting. The games are both predictable and entertaining. While it's important your child enjoys his time on the computer and video, it's also important he get out into the world and remains active.

My advice is to play on his passions, in this case gaming. Find other kids in the area and start a gaming “club” of sorts, where you can rotate homes and have what seemingly is a playgroup with video games. Set limits for the computer that allow him ample playing time, but also allow him to socialize, or spend time outdoors. Video game obsession is common among all kids, and while it can be hard to control, it's not entirely impossible. Depending on the age your child is, a part time job reviewing or testing games could be something to look into. Your local community college may even offer smaller, intimate classes for a future gamer, and while getting your child to agree that it sounds like something he may like to try may be a challenge, it also may give you pe
ace of mind that all that gaming is for a good cause.

If you are keen on socialization and activities that don't involve gaming, try to find an Aspergers support group in the area. This is a great way for both you and your child to meet folks. You can search your towns website, yahoo groups, or Meetup.com (a website for social groups) to find resources in the area that can benefit you. Getting together at parks or museums is one way to get you and your child out of the house and meeting other folks.

When it comes to video games and summer vacation, you'll need to be firm. Giving in to your child sounds [and is] much easier than insisting he get outside for a bit, or partake in other activities. Set limits, stick with them, and both you and your child will enjoy the summer together. If you can, try to devise a system that keeps track of your child’s video game time. For every hour that he spends outdoors, or engaged in other activities, he can “earn” 20 minutes on the computer. To some moms and dads, this seems juvenile -- but it works!

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

My son is 6 years old so I dont let him have very much computer time. I do get worried about him though because he would be perfectly happy if he never left the house. When we go out he always wants to know when we will be home.

Anonymous said...

my son is 12 an he is the same so we have to just take him out but once he is out he enjoys himself

Anonymous said...

my son is 18 and i have the same problem. very disturbing to me. I would love to know how to get him to do other things as well!

Anonymous said...

my six year old is mad on computers and would only do that if it was his choice...we have pictures of different things we want him to do and he gets to choose what order to do them in..helps a little..i think hes just gonna be interested in computer things though.

Anonymous said...

I have a 16 year old and it's hard to pull him away from video time, but I've made a game out of chores he has to do (and on the stubborn days I give options, grounded or chores). He does sports (and loves them) and I tell him a week or two ahead of time if we are going to go to a play or a performance... sometimes he's reluctant, but I've talked about it so much that he goes and enjoys himself. On spontaneous days I just take him, reluctantly, and he may murmur for a while, but he ends up having a good time :O)

Anonymous said...

My son is pretty much the same way, it's the only thing he'd do if we let him (he's 11). So, instead we just limit the amount of time he's allowed to be on electronics. Only school work and Wii fit allowed on school days, and 2 hours per day on the others.

He's taken to listening to audio books in his room while building legos. Not exactly the outdoor/activity thing I'd like, but at least it's not mindless!

Anonymous said...

I would withhold the video games and offer them as a reward for particpating in other activities. Playing video games tends to make my son angry if he can't complete a level. If he gets angry we make him turn it off immediately because he has to learn that it is a trigger for his meltdowns and the best thing to do is to walk away.

Anonymous said...

OMG! My son is dx'd Mod/severe ASD and THIS is soooo exactly him.
2 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

I find that if you make him do something else, at first he won't want to, then he'll start doing the other activity and have fun and be glad he did that other thing. It's just a matter of getting him to start that other activity. If you can get him used to having fun when you tell him he has to do something else and he knows the video games will still be there waiting, he'll learn to put them down when you ask him to.
2 hours ago · Like · 2

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to check back later...VERY bad day today with our Aspie (12) and thankful he is at school so I have a break from the stress right now. This one hits home right now!!! ARGH...counting to ten and breathing a few million times while he is gone today!

Anonymous said...

It's so nice and comforting to me to hear how many others feel the same way as I do. It is so hard! My 11 yr. old son wants to be on the computer all the time. He researches toys that he likes to the extreme! Also , places he wants to go such as Disney, that he actually researches every park, knows that date we are going, which park will be first and do on. The thing is, we never discussed taking this trip. This is what happens when he gets on the computer. He becomes obsessed with things!

Anonymous said...

My son is 11 and would love to play games and be on the computer all day too but I don't let him. He plays all weekend when he goes to his dad's and it turns his brain to mush. I suggest other things to do that are productive. Video games are a complete waste of time. He yells at them, gets so angry and worked up when he plays them. I don't understand how it could be enjoyable. I don't want to hear that or see that. Plus it can't be good for him.

Anonymous said...

My 7 year old is exactly the same, although once he's out he has a great time....its just a matter of convincing him to go out :-) I've made a rule that he can't play WII during the week (its called WII because it for the WII -kend :-)

Anonymous said...

Theres an easy answer to this Leah: take away the ds and unplug the computer. A child his age needs the stimulation of being out and seeing things, he will get mad and upset but just let him throw his fit and ignore him while hes doing it, when the fit passes then ask him, "what would you like to go out and do today?" or get arts and crafts material kids at his age love to make things with there hands. Help him make art work for his room or decorate his own plates and cups. But make sure when he does get mad and throw fits you ignore it, alot of pediatricians will tell you if you dont acknowledge the fits they will stop throwing them over time cause the fits are just to get ur attention.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder HOW Aspergian my guy really is. He LOVES to go outside, especially when the other kids are doing something else. Probably 2/3rds of the time, he goes to the basement. But at LEAST 1/3rd of the time, he's outdoors, even in very cold weather. Some of it may be missing our backwoods house when I was still married to his mom, but in general, I find the outdoors gives him peace.

Anonymous said...

My 11 year old son is the same way. We limit his computer and video game time.If he cant play games he will read or build legos. We have to force him to go outside and play. If he makes it ten minutes its a miracle! The only thing that will keep him outside is the promise of going to the pool in the summer. I wish I could find some kind of outdoor activity that he enjoys.

Anonymous said...

my son to a t,loves video games and computer,but blue murder to get him off them,and goes mad on them,hes sixteen nevr wants to go out and in my face all day,except went he's in the gymn,is this games thing common wit aspires

Anonymous said...

we limit the time everyday. and to boot he has to do his chores before getting on the computer. he may not want to do the homework or load the dishwasher or even pick up his toys but he will if we dont enter the password in the computer to let him have access. in some retrospect no kid wants to do anything but what interests them. might help to make it a RULE that its timed limit ect....

Anonymous said...

remove the video games from the house, lure him outside, Do soemthign with them not by yourself...

Anonymous said...

My little man is only 4 1/2, but this is him all over! We try to limit TV & computor time, although it does calm him when hes not coping well as he can focus. Games make him agro already, gets too frustrated, even at other people playing them if they dont do it 'right'. We try to limit all screen time, & tend to use it as a reward. Needs coaxing to get outside, but loves his tramp & climbing equip & checking out nature.

Anonymous said...

We have a timer, when it goes off, so does the game

Anonymous said...

I can't relate to so many of these posts regarding my 11 year old son. He would be perfectly happy to be on the computer or his games all day long and it definitely is a trigger for his anger sometimes because he doesn't want to be bothered by anything else. So nice to read we are not alone in this.

Anonymous said...

my son is 11yrs with a heart defect..add and just now aspergers. I am so depressed. And he video games and computer is his main activity because he cant play in sports or be outside during cold weather because of his heart condition. Now this.

Patrick M. said...

I think it's a waste of time to force your Asperger's Child to trade time outside with time on the computer ESPECIALLY if you're doing a ratio of 3:1 outside to computer time.

You'd be much better off (in my biased opinion) trying to get him interested in web design, creating videos, drawing on the computer, etcetera.

When I was young my parents didn't have a problem getting me to go outside. But we moved so much I kept having to remake friends, and if my friends were into gaming, I didn't care about the outside.

As far as weight you address that with proper eating habits, not with arbitrarily raising exercise levels. He's not going to be getting a high paying job by going outside and playing, especially if you do move every few years, so you'd be much better off getting him interested in programming, or something else that will give him a heads up in the business world when they get older.

Plus people are horrible. I don't make friends anymore because they all exploit, steal, and lie in order to get what they want and they're never there when I need help. All of my siblings (none of which seem to have any autistic traits) have friends who ruin their lives. My mom has friends who ruin her life. The only one whose life doesn't get ruined by friends, is my dad, whose quite wealthy (parents are divorced)

So really, what are you teaching them by enticing them to go out and frolic that you expect them to benefit from later on in life.

Then again my parents didn't know I had Asperger's they still may not know, so, take my advice with the inherent bias' I have.

I just think that 3 hours on a computer can benefit them much more than 12 hours outside playing. They already have struggles with socializing. With the way society is going with cellphones, computers, tablets, and social networks, how would they really benefit.

I spent a lot of time playing in the sun. Can't really come up with any benefits it had. Even though I'd play with friends and neighbors a lot as a child I ended up Obese because my parents didn't have a healthy diet and proportions. We're talking chunky baby falling asleep into a cake kind of stuff.

So from someone with Asperger's I'd really like to know what the benefit really is, considering that the jobs are going to computer techs. Would you rather them LARP?

Patrick M. said...

I think it's a waste of time to force your Asperger's Child to trade time outside with time on the computer ESPECIALLY if you're doing a ratio of 3:1 outside to computer time.

You'd be much better off (in my biased opinion) trying to get him interested in web design, creating videos, drawing on the computer, etcetera.

When I was young my parents didn't have a problem getting me to go outside. But we moved so much I kept having to remake friends, and if my friends were into gaming, I didn't care about the outside.

As far as weight you address that with proper eating habits, not with arbitrarily raising exercise levels. He's not going to be getting a high paying job by going outside and playing, especially if you do move every few years, so you'd be much better off getting him interested in programming, or something else that will give him a heads up in the business world when they get older.

Plus people are horrible. I don't make friends anymore because they all exploit, steal, and lie in order to get what they want and they're never there when I need help. All of my siblings (none of which seem to have any autistic traits) have friends who ruin their lives. My mom has friends who ruin her life. The only one whose life doesn't get ruined by friends, is my dad, whose quite wealthy (parents are divorced)

So really, what are you teaching them by enticing them to go out and frolic that you expect them to benefit from later on in life.

Then again my parents didn't know I had Asperger's they still may not know, so, take my advice with the inherent bias' I have.

I just think that 3 hours on a computer can benefit them much more than 12 hours outside playing. They already have struggles with socializing. With the way society is going with cellphones, computers, tablets, and social networks, how would they really benefit.

I spent a lot of time playing in the sun. Can't really come up with any benefits it had. Even though I'd play with friends and neighbors a lot as a child I ended up Obese because my parents didn't have a healthy diet and proportions. We're talking chunky baby falling asleep into a cake kind of stuff.

So from someone with Asperger's I'd really like to know what the benefit really is, considering that the jobs are going to computer techs. Would you rather them LARP?

Anonymous said...

It's funny, but I have the same problem with my husband, who was diagnosed this year with Asperger's Syndrome and Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD slightly stronger). He likes to spend hours on the computer playing (mostly old) games like MegaMan, Star Wars, LOTR, Narnia... He had to shut down his Facebook account because he was spending too much time gaming on it and was spending money on the games behind my back. Thankfully he also likes drawing and music - though he also loves to watch the TV (DVDs/VHS tapes) which is a problem limiting. One of the things I have noticed about him is that he has difficulty exercising impulse control unless there are severe consequences for his not doing so. If you're having trouble with your child now, it's much harder when they're adults. Help them find a creative outlet for their interest in computers and games.

Lynette said...

Be careful of the video games they play! My new stepson who is now 14, was allowed to play the same games as his older brother ( who is 5 years older) in his old household. The older brother was allowed to play violent, Mature rated zombie death games ( I never allowed my own son to play M rated games till he was 17). The 10-12 year old aspie was allowed to watch and play these horrible games. What happened was this young aspie believed that zombies were real and would go up to people at school or scouts, and tell them the zombies were outside and were going to eat them. The child truly believed what he played on the games was real. I banned ALL games for even 14 and up in our new home period. It took a long time to get the understanding in him that these are games, and movies are not real either. Be careful if you have a second home, or after school place, or friends home your child goes to. A parent does not know what level of games other parents let their children play or even watch. He is 14 now and developed an obsession with murder war movies so we had to put a stop to that too.

Multiple Me's said...

I've dealt with this so long, I finally set hours on my rooter for each electronic that accesses the Internet. I use Microsoft Family Safety to limit the number of hours he can use the computer he takes when he visits his father. This doesn't cover everything, but it has taught him that I mean business. Also, when homework backs up, hours shorten until specific items are completed. I tell him he is 13 and I won't always be around to be the rule enforcer. He might find that automatic tools will help him as an adult.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

Click here to read the full article…

Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes. The hardest part is you feel like you’ll never actually get to know your child and how he/she views the world.

Click here to read the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content