Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


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Aspergers/HFA Children and Excessive Crying


My 9 year old daughter cries all the time. When I tell her about something she has done wrong or try and correct something... she starts crying – even when she spills a drink or something on herself. I never shout or even tell her off... I think she would faint if I did!! She must have uncontrolled emotions or something, not being able to deal with them properly perhaps.


Can there be too much crying? Should we be concerned at some point when school-aged children cry? I think yes.

Often Aspergers and high functioning autistic (HFA) children feel criticized by their parents who tell them that they shouldn't cry. Hurt, they may cry more when told to stop crying. That's why I think we should downplay the message, "Don't cry," and play up the message, "Let's think of better ways you could handle this situation without crying." This approach makes us allies, trying to help our children grow up.

Another key for parents is not to reinforce excessive crying behavior. For example, Michael cries when he is frustrated. Rather than assisting him in response to tears, the parents could say: "We'll be glad to help you when you pull yourself together and ask for help in a big boy voice." The message should be, "It's not a good idea to cry about small things. Use your strength. We want to help you be strong."

Children on the autism spectrum often keep crying as long as it seems to work for them. When it doesn't, they eventually quit. If they are upset about something, we want them to learn to handle their feelings in more powerful ways.

One factor that generally triggers Aspergers and HFA children to stop crying is social pressure. If older children cry often in front of peers, they generally will be ridiculed. Parents can point this out while they teach their children other, more powerful responses to difficult situations.

Kids on the autism spectrum do indeed have problems with low-frustration tolerance, and they are very sensitive to changes in routine as well as certain environmental stimuli. As parents, we want to treasure our child's sensitivity. But, we also want to teach both boys and girls to tolerate some feelings without crying and to express certain emotions in more mature ways.

==> My Aspergers Child: Preventing Tantrums and Meltdowns


Anonymous said...

My 9 year old son diagnosed with AS cries when challenged at home or at school. He gets upset at school frequently especially when there is a time limit to a test. Its more than just test anxiety its a complete disconnect when he gets to that point. The teaches have to stop and tell him to use his coping skills and or let him go outside for a minute to get his mind off things. He is currently taking risperdol.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Regarding your 9 yo DS w/ AS I was told that the AS children should be getting an extra half hour to complete their tests. You should look into this.
My DD has just been diagnosed w/ AS and is in K but not on any meds. I was already told by her therapist, teacher and school counselor that they will be giving her extra time on tests or a quiet place for testing.
Good Luck!
Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

Jessica Kessel My 4 year old son reacts very similarly.
33 minutes ago · Like
Kelly Hawley my 9 yr old son is very sensitive too
29 minutes ago · Like
Marlene Biggy I could have written that post.... my daughter was the same way, but the meds she's on for anxiety seem to help her keep it in check a little better now
29 minutes ago · Like
Cynthia Whetten
My daughter is 5 with aspergers. I am amazed at well she responds to very logical explanations/conversations. She gets frustrated when she doesn't understand, so if we can explain it to her making it very clear she does very well. Asperger kids are often perfectionists so doing something wrong or incorrect and getting reprimanded for it is very hard on them. We use lots of praise and lots of roll play to help her learn appropriate behavior.
17 minutes ago · Like
Wendy Layne Windrich My daughter who is 10 is similar. She however gets very angry and cries and assumes that you are attacking her no matter how gently you speak. She always seems to think someone is mad at her.

Anonymous said...

My 8 year old daughter, who does have AS does this crying thing. talking nicely to her doesn't seem to work,and ignoring her doesn't seem to work either, rather it just fuels her more, so suggestions would be welcomed. She whines too when you ask her to say pick up something, and she'll whine and say, but i'm playing with it, or I don't know what to pick up first. she crys when we have to leave the park, and usually i have to leave with her actually screaming at the top of her lungs, and I get the dirty looks from ppl that don't understand her.

Anonymous said...

Finally!!!! im so glad I found this page hugs to all of you my son hasnt been diagnosed yet but Ive done tons of research and im pretty sure whats going on with him Im so glad this page is here its very hard explaining his differences to others especially when people are simply ignorant about Autism and Aspergers and the challenges it brings to not only the child but the parents and caregivers as well.

Anonymous said...

Look into low dose naltrexone. Is is an immune system booster and increases endorphins (feel good chemicals) in the brain. My aspies' attitude became sunny after 1 week of taking it. you take it for six months then the body takes over.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter is a LOT better on zoloft. I'd love to take her off meds now that she is doing online public school since school was her worst anxiety problem. I'm just not sure of the meds are helping or the online school since she started them about the same time.

Anonymous said...

my 11 year old daughter is very sensistive too she was diagnosed early this year

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how that is. I am one of those that cries over just about anything. Even in school. It is so very difficult. I am a graduate of 2011. I now work. Many times I try to pretend that there is something in my eyes because of my tears. So that way others will stop asking me about me and just let me be.


Anonymous said...

My son with AS used to do this. He would mostly do it straight after school or if he'd had a fight with his brother. Crying was often mixed with anger. We got to the point where I only had to point to his bedroom and he'd run in there and calm down privately then we'd talk about it. It took a lot of work on what to do to calm yourself whilst in your room and I had to teach his brother not to walk in on his cause they share a room but that part was easy cause his brother is older and got that his younger bro needed to calm. Now he hardly does it. He'll normally tell me whats wrong now with his words (sometimes very angrily) but I'd rather that then him standing in front of me crying so hard that I couldn't work out what's wrong. He's a tough kid too so the tears didnt suit him in that sense so I think he was fairly happy with himself to get rid of them most of the time. If he does cry now it's private and not in front of others.

angel said...

What do you need to do to test for as

Unknown said...

My son is 11and was diagnosed with AS 2yrs ago he crys when we tell him off or if we ask him to do chores or gets angry and starts screaming and shouting, we have tried everything including bribery and I'm tired we have two younger children, any suggestions, lm sure the neighbours think we are Mad.

Unknown said...

My son is on the verge of being diagnosed and I am at a loss. I no longer know how to respond and most days are spent with me frustrated and him screaming and yelling like he's being beaten. I am surprised nobody ever calls the cops but my neighbor frequently bang on my for complaining about the noise. Hoping the results of testing send us in the right direction because I think I'm going to break soon

Unknown said...

I was like that. We are often harder on ourselves about making a mistake more than a parent would be. We already know we are different and feel the frustration and disappointed from others in our lives, all most of us want is to succeed, not make mistakes and not disappoint those we care about. The first thing to say is, "It's ok. Accidents happen. Can you help me clean it up? I'm not mad. " After cleaning up together... praise they way they cleaned up then ask them what they think they can do to prevent it next time. Even if you are calm, we already are beating ourselves up about it. Reinforce your patience, acceptance and understanding.

Unknown said...

Hi, My name is Dylan, I am 17 and have Aspergers. From my experience, crying would always be do to emotion. By this I mean that we (most commonly) with AS do not cry because we feel that we are in trouble (or we have done something wrong) but rather due to the underlying fact that any and all social interaction effects us emotionally. I eventually (mostly) stopped exhibiting this behavior as I now can cope. During typical human interactions that would in the past trigger an emotional response I now have none, better or worse I have (rather unconsciously) developed a barrier between my emotions and my social interactions, in most situations this applies, the exemption being ones in which I have an emotional attachment to the other person, (my mom, my dad, certain friends of many years,) anything said not directly neutral or positive (in connotation or annotation) is still able to impact me, often times it will color my perspective on my actions or experience. Please be careful in your interactions, even things said out of care will still emotionally impact us, (even myself to this very day.)

Unknown said...

My 9 year old daughter has cried from morning till she falls asleep for the past month. I have no. Clue how to help stop this. Melatonin helps fall asleep thats it. She is terrified of everything. Everything ive trued does not help:(

Unknown said...

Children see other people through their own eyes, that simply means what they believe they are seeing is based on what they are thinking: and she may have it all wrong. Maybe she worried about you. Try asking her calmly if she has any concerns or is worried about you in any way??..

Farah Diba Hidanah said...

I had Aspergers, i was very sensitive and cried a lot because i don't know how to expressing my emotion, it's hard to explain

Unknown said...

There are sensitive people and that is not bad. What is bad is having no emotion. Then you are a sociopath. It is much better to be the opposite. The highly emotional are also the ones that are observant and paying attention to the worlds. That makes them highly intelligent. So stop criticizing someone because they cry. Society should start worrying about the unemotional sociopaths and pointing fingers at them and not emotional people. Eventually a child will grow out of it and cope well if not criticized for it. I felt as if I was doing something so bad that I was so ashamed to cry in public that I was terrified of funerals, even my own grandfather which I loved so much that there was no way I could keep from crying. And the sociopaths in my family would have judged me. IF course they didn't shed a tear when someone died. It is good to cry and bad to judge someone or tell them to stop. Some people's feelings get hurt easy. It gets better with age.

Anonymous said...

Do you have children that cry and tantrum all the time? If it was normal to tantrum and cry ALL the time, people wouldn't be in here asking for help. Sometimes it does not get better with age, you can't just wait something out without trying to help someone with their emotions if they're over sensitive. Of course it's not bad, but don't make other people feel like psychopaths for not wanting their children to cry ALL the time. Do you have aspbergers or children with aspbergers? Because it sounds like you don't even understand these families' situations.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content