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Aspergers and Anti-Social Behavior


My son is 14 with ADHD and aspergers. My housing association wont recognise this and want an ASBO placed on him, otherwise an Injuction placed on myself to take full responsibility for my sons anti-social behaviour. Surely this cannot be possible and so unfair on my son and myself. What can I do? Any ideas please...


For many moms and dads of kids with Aspergers (high-functioning autism), coping with violent and aggressive behavior can be a very difficult challenge indeed. Aggressive behavior occurs for a reason, just as it would with any other kid. No child ever really just "acts out" for no apparent reason whatsoever. The key is in the words "apparent reason." There is ALWAYS a reason, but the major challenge for the mother or father is often working out what that reason is.

Inappropriate behavior, whether mild or severe, generally occurs in order to:
  1. Avoid something - for example, the youngster may become aggressive and shout before getting on the school bus because he wants to avoid going to school.
  2. Get something - for example, she may lash out at another child because she wants to get the toy that the other child is playing with.
  3. Because of pain - for example, he may show a range of challenging behaviors to his mom and dad because he is experiencing some physical pain (e.g., headache, earache, etc.).
  4. Fulfill a sensory need - for example, the youngster may lash out or shout in the classroom if it is too noisy, busy, bright, hot, or strong in a particular smell.

So, the first step in reducing or eliminating this behavior is to determine the need that it fulfills by looking at the four categories above.

The second step is to teach the Aspergers child a replacement behavior, which he can use to communicate what he wants or doesn't want. It may even involve using some of the child's obsessive or self-stimulating behaviors (e.g., hand-flapping, rocking, pacing, etc.) as a replacement behavior, which would be far less intrusive to others than aggressive behaviors -- but still serve the same purpose. 

A replacement behavior could also be about encouraging the youngster to express her feelings or negotiate verbally. For other kids on the autism spectrum, they may communicate through more creative methods (e.g., emotion cards, drawing, using symbols, "talking" through a puppet, etc.). 

The process of finding effective replacement behaviors takes time. Initially, depending on the behavior, parents (and teachers) may not have time. If the behavior is severe, then parents need to remove the youngster from whatever situation he is in at the time. Simply insisting that the child stop the behavior and participate in whatever is occurring will not benefit him or the parent -- unless he is removed from the situation first.

Maintaining your youngster's routine will also go a long way towards reducing the need for inappropriate or aggressive behavior. Routine is a great source of stability and comfort for kids with Aspergers.

So, just to recap, the two critical factors for coping with your youngster's aggressive and violent behaviors are:
  1. Identify the real cause of the behavior from the four main categories mentioned above.
  2. Teach the youngster to communicate the real cause of the behavior to you in a less harmful manner.

Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Anonymous said...

Sylvia Davidson Poor u and ur son. I'm not sure what u can do, though a letter from a gp or consultant highlighting his behaviours are not deliberate etc may help. Unfortunately, this type of thing scares me too for the future, as I am aware of this sort of thing happening, even court cases etc. It's totally wrong. Good luck!
3 minutes ago · Like
Jessica Ford I feel for you on this one, housing associations are a joke. Personally I would get doctor/hospital letters and arrange an appointment with the police and anyone else involved in an educational or care sense, if they have all the facts on your son's special needs they should support rather than penalise, what you're describing sounds very unfair :( best of luck
3 minutes ago · Like

Anonymous said...

Debbie Roenneburg Wouldn't this fall under disability discrimination, check into your bylaws, then check with your state disability advocacy office
16 hours ago · Like · 3 people
Diane Gogots Gillespie I agree with Debbie....(btw what is an ASBO?)
15 hours ago · Like
Amore Vita Familiare Wow..My son is only 4 1/2 with adhd n aspergers..He starts K next yr..God is this what im suppose to expect from other ignorant parents? Its truly frustrating.
15 hours ago · Like
Megan McCamy Drobes What is an ASBO?
13 hours ago · Like
Art Play Australia Global Inc - Nicole Osborn Now there's something you truly don't need! so sorry to hear of your predicament. I think Jessica and Debbie's suggestions are the way to go. There are many parents thinking of you and wishing you well. Hang in there. Nicole
11 hours ago · Like
Anna Mel Goff
long story short, it's like a court order that prevents the kid from going where others might be allowed to go or participating in activities because he is considered at high risk of damaging property or being harmful to others. Our former landlord had one on any kid under 14 years of age. They were not allowed anywhere on the grounds unsupervised at any time (not that the parents cared or followed the order) and they had a curfiew (not allowed out of the apartments after a certain time). They can vary in degree and intensity depending on the are you live in... but they basicly labeled him as a delinquant instead of a special needs' child :/ Sounds like discrimination to me... proving it, however is another matter...
11 hours ago · Like
Anna Mel Goff
Jessica has a point. If the cops know that your child is special needs and know what he's like and how he reacts, they are more likely to be on your side if something happens (or in some special needs' kids cases if they have a tendency to bolt from adults the perceive as a threat, the cops will know to look for him right away if reported missing as opposed to waiting the 24 hour period usually required.) Same for firefighters/first responders in your area.
11 hours ago · Like
Alice Unzueta D Ajenjo It' s time to make a change! We need it...
11 hours ago · Like
HOPELights Please try to reach out to: - She is an amazing woman who knows much about the law and has helped many people at HOPELights with issues that just leave me dumbfounded. Tell her Dawn HOPELights sent you to her and the situation, it's worth a shot! She is really brilliant! I wish I knew more to help you! Hugs.
Hopeezinetoday Autismmom
9 hours ago · Like ·
Jan Howarth
Get a social worker and like the others said get your GP and consultant involved also would medication for the ADHD part not help? However, even though your son has ADHD/Aspergers if his behaviour is causing a lot of problems and trouble, enough for ASBOs to get mentiuoned then you have to start getting tough on him and managing his behaviour. Having ADHD/Aspergers is no excuse or valid reason if he is out of control or causing problems. Oh and yes I have a son with Aspergers, a son with ADHD and a son with ADHD/ODD
6 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

i am going thrugh the same problem at this very moment can the mum of this post inbox me please ??

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

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD 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.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

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 or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your 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 Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the 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…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD 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 ASD 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…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...