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Aspergers Children and Disruptive Behavior

Aspergers and high-functioning autistic kids with disruptive behavior need a higher level of supervision than other "typical" kids of the same age. However, supervision does not always have to be by the parent. In fact, because defiant behavior is often directed primarily at parents and teachers, parents may find that alternative caregivers, such as competent babysitters or aides, are able to develop good relationships with the youngster that provide social learning for the youngster and valuable respite for moms and dads.

Find ways to maintain a positive relationship with your Aspergers youngster. Pay attention to his good qualities and find joy in the moments of closeness. We naturally avoid people who cause us anxiety and are angered when they hurt us. But, we love our kids and that drives us forward to seek healing for them and for us. You need an outlet for your own feelings, so seek out support to help you cope. Many moms and dads also find that they need support to maintain a healthy, supportive marriage in difficult situations.

Get a plan and stick with it. Learn all you can about how to effectively manage your Aspergers youngster's behavior. Find what works for you, and then use those strategies in a consistent and structured way. Routines and clear expectations for behavior benefit all kids. They are vital to the healthy development of the disruptive youngster.

Respite and parent support are important because moms and dads need to be in control of their own emotions during difficult episodes with the Aspergers youngster. These kids enjoy making you mad, and they are good at it. Moms and dads need to maintain an emotionally neutral stance when giving instructions or consequences to the disruptive youngster. This skill doesn't come naturally and must be practiced and perfected over time. If moms and dads don't learn to control their own emotions when disciplining the youngster, the result is often violence and escalation of the disorder.

In working with disruptive Aspergers kids, I like to keep in mind the model I learned from Assertiveness Training. When a youngster has a need or desire to communicate, he may present it in one of three ways:

1. Unassertive (passive) communication - I lose, you win.
2. Aggressive communication - I win, you lose.
3. Assertive communication - I win, you win.

It may seem odd that the best thing to do to help disruptive Aspergers kids is the same thing you do to help shy kids, teach assertiveness! Of course you are coming at it from a different angle. The first step in changing the pattern of disruptive behavior in your youngster is to develop a sense of empathy. Observe and discuss with your youngster the emotions of others to help him understand how people feel when they are treated badly. TV and books are useful tools for teaching your youngster to recognize the feelings of others. Treat your youngster with empathy and respect, and he will learn to treat others in the same way.

An ideal opportunity to teach your Aspergers youngster how to handle angry feelings is when you and your spouse have an argument. Your youngster can learn principles of listening well, remaining calm, cooling off, and negotiating a solution by your example. Do you and your spouse often lose control emotionally? Name-calling, hateful words, and, of course, physical aggression by parents are directly modeled by disruptive kids.

Harsh physical punishment and abuse also lead to an aggressive pattern of externalizing painful emotions. Aggression in Aspergers kids is related to Oppositional Defiant and Conduct Disorders. These disorders set the stage for many long years of delinquency, substance abuse, poor relationships, and maladaptation in young adulthood. The destructive cycle is only stopped by learning self-control, a lesson best learned in childhood.

Aspergers kids need to understand the difference between right and wrong. A healthy sense of guilt when they do wrong is a good thing. Feeling "shame" rather than "guilt", however, is associated with disruptive behavior. What is the difference between shame and guilt, and why is it important? Probably because guilt is focused more on the transgression than the self, guilt seems to motivate restitution, confession, and apologizing rather than avoidance. Now you know why experts say condemn the behavior, not the youngster. It's a delicate balance for moms and dads, but an important one. In the same vein, parents should be realistic in their praise of the youngster. As kids reach the elementary years, they need to have an accurate perception of their abilities and relationships. Some interesting current research suggests that kids who have an unrealistically positive perception of themselves are more disruptive.

Aspergers kids do model aggressive behavior from TV, movies, and games. This has been demonstrated convincingly in the research. If your youngster has a problem with disruptive behavior, you should definitely limit or eliminate his viewing of this type of programming now.

My Aspergers Child: Help for Parents with Disruptive Aspergers Children & Teens


Anonymous said...

You are not 24 hours care..I cannot turn my back or leave my son for a sec and have had to fit locks on my kitchen bedroom and bathroom doors to keep him out as there are too many dangers.

Anonymous said...

When my daughter was 6 she spent her hour long, one on one, language therapy class pulling faces at the therapist and her trainee, then laughing uncontrollably at their disapproval. I was invited to watch this particular lesson from behind a special window where i couldn't be seen, because the school wanted me to see how well she had progressed. I guess they just picked the wrong day lol!!

Anonymous said...

We meet with our son's psychologist every two weeks and I will get her input then, but most recently when we left our almost 15 year old at home alone for a few hours (only to see a movie and have dinner out) he decided to cut slices in the fabric on top of our sofa; about 25 in all, an inch or two in length.

I talked with him about it it calmly two nights later (when I saw it) and he stated he was rapping on it like drumsticks with his scout knives and didn't notice it at first. I know this is untrue as I have one of the knives he alluded to and my gut says he was bored and impulsive and just wanted to do it.

He also has 47xyy and I wonder if you have companion articles about how to handle destructive behaviors? He was not on his ritalin (inattentive type) over the weekend, but other than this has been doing great. He's usually sedentary and watches tv or plays videos when we are away (which is hardly ever, due to this type of result).

We just don't know what to do without understanding why he does it. Punishment seems ineffective, but not punishing him seems wrong too. He must be capable of realizing how hurtful damaging the furniture would be? He's also damaged the sheetrock in his room, made pencil holes in the windowsill, etc.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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