Is there a way to stop aggressive behavior when a young child with Aspergers is in the middle of a meltdown?
It is not uncommon for kids with Aspergers (high-functioning autism) to become aggressive. Aspergers causes a youngster to struggle to understand how their behaviors affect other kids. The many symptoms and characteristics of the disorder can cause extreme frustration. This frustration can lead to anxiety, depression, anger, and aggressive behavior.
Here are a few specific reasons for aggressive meltdowns:
- Change of routine: Inability to handle unexpected changes in the daily schedule, such as a substitute teacher or a cancelled class period
- Communication problems: Inability to recognize humor, sarcasm, or slang during conversations with peers
- Sensory issues: Inability to handle the discomfort in the environment due to sights, sounds, smells, or other sensory dysfunction
- Social struggles: Inability to understand social cues and gestures or to make and keep friends
Aspergers calls for a direct approach. Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, social skills training, and occupational therapy will help with levels of frustration and also touch on self-control, a necessary skill for all of us. However, there are several things parents can do at home to lessen the impact of aggressive meltdowns.
Here are a few tips:
- Redirection can sometimes be used during the beginning stages of a meltdown to reduce the escalation.
- Removal from the situation is necessary once a meltdown has developed.
- Role-play appropriate responses to tricky situations with your youngster. Role-playing is an excellent option for teaching all types of social skills to kids with Asperger’s.
- Social stories are excellent for teaching young kids about problem behaviors. These should be used during quiet moments and not during any stage of aggressiveness or frustration.
- Teach youngster to recognize red light/green light behaviors, red being a poor choice and green being a good choice.
My Aspergers Child: Preventing Aggressive Behavior in Aspergers Children