Search This Site


Aspergers Teens and Behavior Problems at School


Can you help me with behavior management for teenagers with Aspergers Syndrome in mainstream school (e.g., interrupting, joking, attention seeking)?


Social boundaries are not always understood by teenagers with Aspergers (high-functioning autism). Teens as a whole may have difficulty with these concepts; however, the teen with Aspergers may have a tougher time understanding how his behavior is disruptive or unacceptable. Teenagers with Aspergers struggle to understand how to control their feelings. Anger, stress, anxiety, and frustration can build quickly. This can cause inappropriate behaviors as the teenager strains to maintain control. Other times the teenager may act improperly without realizing what has happened.

Here are some commonly used treatment options:

• Individual counseling— Much like Cognitive-behavioral therapy, a trained professional counselor will attempt to develop a relationship with the teen with Aspergers. Teens can benefit from the one-on-one of basic counseling sessions that deal directly with the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of emotions and actions. This type of therapy may last for years.

• Cognitive-behavioral therapy— Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a time controlled intense therapy that is based on the belief that a teen’s individual thoughts are the cause of his behavior. In other words, the people around you and the situations that occur are not the cause, but an effect. Since this is the reality, a person should then be able to change the outcome of actions and feelings by changing the way they think about them, and not by changing the situations.

Without strong support at home, Aspergers teens may not make much progress with dealing with emotions and poor behavior. Any therapy will include homework. Some families, either by choice or desire, may choose to handle the adolescent years without the assistance of private therapy. In many instances, this can be an acceptable alternative.

My Aspergers Teen: Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens


Anonymous said...

I have a 9 year old son who was diagnosed with Aspergers and ADHD around the age of 6, and he has been on medication to help with his attention & focus at school, which seems to work fine for the most part.

At least twice a school year, the homeroom teacher becomes frustrated with him, as he begins to push the limits to see how far he can go, usually in refusing to do classwork, refusing to "try". He gets to this point when he has lost focus, been distracted, either doesn't know how to do the work or would rather be playing computer games. The teacher always feels she has exhausted every avenue for rewards/punishments and wants my approval to send him to ISS (in school suspension) or corporal punishment (spanking). I am not against these punishments in general, but for the right reasons. I have stood my ground that he shouldn't receive ISS or spankings for refusing to do work or to try, but am I making the problem worse? I'm so afraid I'm enabling him to continue acting bad at school; when all i really want is the teacher to try other methods to prevent the bad behavior before it happens. What is an appropriate punishment/dicipline for him when he refuses to do work or refuses to try at school and at home?

Tots said...

Hey Anonymous,

First, you aren't alone. Most of us have been round and round in the fight with school systems who want to suspend or spank autistic teens. There is a time and place for it, but unfortunately our experience has been local school systems lack the necessary training to safely deal with autistic kids.

Please don't panic, I just want to caution that they do not understand autistic kids act differently than Neuro Typical kids. For instance my son will respond to escalation with more escalation until he needs to be restrained until the meltdown is over.

Strongly emphasize they MUST use redirection. If you have not had an IED (Individual Education Plan) and ARD for your son make sure they are aware of his diagnosis and demand one. DO NOT trust they will do the right thing as we did because they will do what is easiest because they have 20 or 30 other NT kids to deal with. It's much easier for them to send him off to another room than to deal with him.

Also see if there is a SEPTA (Special Education PTA) in your district as you can usually find resources there to help you deal with the system.

I'll be happy to answer any questions about what we went through here in the Dallas area with our son as well. Just email me at houstonkeys (at) Hotmail (dot) com

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...