"Misbehavior" or "Aspergers-Related Behavior"

Question

My Aspergers son will not get off the computer when asked. How do I know if this “misbehavior” is Aspergers-related – or pure disobedience?

Answer

I don't think it matters in this case. Aspergers (high functioning autism) is a disorder, but not a license to do whatever you want to do. If he wants to get on the computer, then use a timer. Most often, when an Aspergers child is on the computer, the parent says, "You can stay on for 15 minutes,” but then the next day, the parent says, “You have to get off the computer in 5 minutes” …then the day after, “O.K., just 30 more minutes.” This is very inconsistent! The child knows that if it's your opinion of when it stops, he can use emotional blackmail to get you to change your mind. That's why you should get a timer and say, "O.K., you've got 15 minutes, and when the timer goes off, that's the end."

You can get a computer program that you can load onto your computer, and every so often, it flashes a message across the screen saying, "Time to take a break, you've been on this long enough." It's not the parent saying this, the computer says it – and then the Aspergers child believes it! So find one of those programs. It's the timer that says, “You've got to stop” – not you, the parent.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

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