How do you get teenagers with Aspergers to recognize that the social skills that you are trying to teach them (often to no avail) are imperative if they are to get on in life with regard to finding friends, a job etc.? Kids with Aspergers often seem in such a world of their own that they cannot appreciate the importance of those social skills. In our case, we have an adolescent who thinks that they are always right anyway and so see no need to modify their behavior.
The teen years can be a trying time for moms and dads and kids alike. As parents, we know that our adolescents have a lot of growing up to do. As adolescents, our kids cannot figure out how we made it to adulthood with so little knowledge and understanding! The truth is, these years bring about difficult adjustments on both parties, and this happens whether or not you are dealing with Aspergers (high-functioning autism).
Adolescents with Aspergers have lived through the elementary and middle school years and have struggled with social skills weaknesses all along. Through years of classroom experiences, a social base has been built. It may not be strong, but it is there. All you have to do is find a way to add to it. The same is true for basic living skills.
Here are some suggestions you may find helpful:
• Find resources to help you choose appropriate tasks/skills for your adolescent. You can find books that are geared towards adolescents with Aspergers. These books highlight the skills needed that may not come naturally.
• Instead of pushing your adolescent to recognize his need for these social and basic living skills, try building them into his daily schedule. As the parent, you can require his participation in daily chores, personal hygiene, and even part-time employment.
• Reinforce your chore/responsibility requirements with rewards and consequences. Be consistent.
• Use calendars, written schedules, and visual daily lists to plan your adolescent’s daily commitments. While it is true he/she may not appreciate having chores and planned responsibilities, chances are he/she will become accepting when faced with negative consequences.
Sometimes moms and dads have to find sneaky ways to teach their kids. It sounds like this may be one of those times in your home. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to bring in another trusted adult. Involving a favorite teacher, a relative, church leader, or coach may help your adolescent see that these skills you have been pushing are indeed very important.
Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens
• Anonymous said… I am happy to hear others struggling in the same way. I can't tell you how many times a day I have said that his words or tone of voice are rude and hurtful!
• Anonymous said… I can write a book. Not a easy journey at all. Aspergers has its stages. I'm bless to have my sanity 16 years and counting (teenager).
• Anonymous said… If your son knows he's going to be punished and it escalates into a meltdown, it's not escalating into a meltdown. It's escalating into a tantrum so that he can avoid the punishment. Learn the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown, and learn when autistics make their meltdowns look like tantrums so that they can avoid punishment. When it's a tantrum, and when he is faking, do not withhold punishment.
• Anonymous said… Lots of wonderful stuff in there. But for us the rewards system did not work and the psych explained that for many ASD kids the sticker charts ect do not work for behaviours as the kids have little control over their emotions and reactions. They are effective for menial tasks like chores around the house, but not for sitting still or for doing homework etc
• Anonymous said… My 15 year old daughter has no problem with household chores, part time job or personal hygiene. I'm having a really difficult time teaching her how to speak to and treat her friends respectfully. She swears, creates drama, won't back down in a disagreement, won't admit to being wrong, won't apologize and doesn't understand the need to do any of that. She knows how to be polite and respectful and is with people she isn't close to. She thinks those close to her she just accept "the real her" bad behaviour and all. She doesn't seem to care that she hurts them.
• Anonymous said… on a waiting list to find out if my 5 yr old has aspergers. I'm getting absolutely exhausted from the blow ups and hitting all the time it seems like lately. I'm lost.
• Anonymous said… This is where we are right now with our 14 year old son...
• Anonymous said… Totally same here...but different! Lol...our 17 year old gets that look in his eyes that says "i'm standing here because i know i have to but i'm ignoring everything you say..." it drives us nuts! Thankfully mr 17 isn't violent etc but van be very harsh with his words sometimes and really doesn't understand that he is, or tone etc. But for mr 17 it isn't so much "i don't care if they like me" as "i'm happy to live in my room with my computer for my whole life". Doesn't see the need for a job, or a license or anything. Zero aspirations....just apathy. My husband days he was the same at that age but i cannot fathom it...
• Anonymous said… Yeap that's my son he's 12 and its been dificult for him and us(mom and dad) during this transition sometimes We fiel we're going to lose it. Its exausting imagine that both my husband and I are teachers despiste that we've all had a Hard time. Our son is also swearing using really harsh words and is also having lots of meltdowns schools aren't cutting it. Its been pretty dificult for everyone why should our Kids adapt to the rest???? It should be the other way around our education is behind our century. All I can say is that I'm greatful for this group and just knowing that we're not alone. THANKYOU
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