Does my Aspergers child know what’s right and what’s wrong?

"Does my Aspergers child know what’s right and what’s wrong? It seems that he does not really know the difference."

On the surface, the issue of right and wrong appears to be a complicated one for Asperger’s children, but it is not. Children with Asperger’s have very firm ideas of right and wrong, and they can become argumentative with adults and peers over issues of proper or improper behavior. They are typically unable to consider shades of grey and will perceive issues in black or white terms; however, they can discuss those issues with an adult and come to an agreement when solutions are proposed to them.

The good news is that Asperger’s children are known for being able to follow clearly explained and set rules that are consistent, and this trait can be used to help them learn right from wrong. As these children mature, they will learn right from wrong in a rote manner at first; but later they will develop a greater understanding of why something is right or wrong.

An important factor is that the rules, and the explanation for the rules, should be explained in a manner that they understand, and the rules should be consistently enforced. In fact, their inclination to learn right from wrong can be so profound, it might seem that Asperger’s children are pre-programmed to detect right and wrong, and they might even bluntly announce that a request or activity is right or wrong. Also, they will take notice of others’ incorrect behavior, but not their own; this can be perceived as a double standard. In addition, they may not be able to show empathy for others, and this can lead to problems as they may do or say things that seem wrong because they may not be able to understand or empathize with another person’s feelings.

Children and adults who do not have a diagnosis of Asperger’s can relate to other people and engage effectively in social interactions with others because they are able to perceive things from another individual’s point of view. The ability to comprehend someone else’s point of view is the result of correctly perceiving speech patterns, body language, tone of voice, facial movements, and the situation in which communication is taking place.

Children with Asperger's and other autistic disorders can lack the capacity to relate to and understand others’ feelings or behavioral nuances, particularly on an emotional level. Also, the child’s inability to interpret someone else’s actions, whether deliberate or unintentional, can result in the child’s experiencing paranoia. This can result in inappropriate behavior.

Children with Asperger’s may not exhibit traditionally moral feelings or behaviors because Asperger’s denies them the ability to experience the capacity for some emotions and introspection on which society’s perceptions of morality are based. These children do not experience the feelings associated with traditional right and wrong; yet, they may possess a sense of ethics as well as a cognitive understanding of right and wrong.

Asperger’s does not completely remove a child’s awareness of correct and incorrect behavior; it does allow them to behave with a sense of socially acceptable morality if they are helped to do so.

The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide


•    Anonymous said... don't think it's about right vs wrong but more about interpretation. As an NT, we think about situations a certain way. Aspies usually see things a little differently. Once you understand their vision you can adjust the consequence accordingly.
•    Anonymous said... I can say that my son gets right vs wrong. but mostly be cause we have role played situations so much that it is in his rote memory now. He at least gets the general idea and if his impulsivity doesn't take over he will do right vs. wrong
•    Anonymous said... Mine certainly knows when someone else is "doing wrong." He will tell them the rules 80times over. His interpretation of the rules is not typical though. If someone asks him to please stop chewing his shirt he will say "oh, sorry" and immediately start chewing anything that is not his shirt.
•    Anonymous said... my daughter is 16 and she tells me everyday that its hard for her to behave
•    Anonymous said... My middle child seems to always be chewing on his shirts lately and I really don't think he even notices when he does it.
•    Anonymous said... My son sometimes doesn't get it and even if he gets it, he ignores the consequences, but can't help it. Its really hard for them. Their brains just cannot measure like ours.
•    Anonymous said... My son's perception is so non-typical. But, at least, SOMETIMES, he will admit, "I don't get it." I have to remind myself often,.... he's right, he REALLY doesn't get it!

Post your comment below...

Raising Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Parents' Grief and Guilt

Some parents grieve for the loss of the youngster they   imagined  they had. Moms and dads have their own particular way of dealing with the...