Helping Aspergers and HFA Children Who Get Frustrated

When my 15y/o son with autism (high functioning) meets with disappointment, and when things don't go just as he wants them to, he has his meltdown …then it is so difficult to get him redirected back to doing what he should be doing. Are there any tips you can give me about how to try to get him back on track, to help him accept that something didn't work out or that he can't do or have something he really wanted?

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  1. Wonderful insight! Every day with an Aspergers child is a new day! Today I related best to #5 on Intensity. I always need the reminder to keep a matter of fact tone and not escalate the situation. Eliminating the use of judgment words and judgmental emotions (my own anger or frustration) is critical to success. Letting that judgment sneak in is like adding fuel to the fire. It's so much easier with someone else's kid. We definitely push each others' buttons.

  2. Raising child with Aspergers is so STINKIN' HARD!! We dealt with our Aspergers son and his major meltdowns starting at age two - he is eleven now. Any transition, any unexpected turn of events, any kind of schedule adjustment would send him to the moon in a BAD way: screaming, yelling, flailing on the floor. He damaged something during one of his fits and he was made to pay for it - he never did that again. He threw something once during a fit and he lost it (he was told that this would happen). The "throwing things" stopped. At age 10 we took him to the ER because his tantrums were becoming scary again. A low dose of risperidone each day was a huge help. Along with medication, we instituted the rule of a complete loss of any screen time for ANY tantrum. (screen time happened to be what he "lived" for) The screen time privilege had to be earned back by NOT throwing a fit for 24 hours. Any disrespectful speech was the same consequence. The combination of medication and raised expectations did the trick. I can't remember the last time he has thrown a fit. At some point I needed to figure out if my child couldn't or wouldn't behave a certain way- that is SO difficult to know sometimes! All I know is that I tended to assume that he couldn't and found that I was wrong. It just happened to be harder for him and he just needed some extra help and discipline along the way.

  3. Sarah Todd, my Mum raised me like that (I have Asperger's, though it's a recent diagnosis) and all it taught me to do was to never speak up when I feel uncomfortable. Instead I internalised it all which has meant that over the years it has built and built into a self-loathing (why couldn't I just express myself the way *she* wanted me to? Why were my cries for help seen as bad behaviour? Is being overwhelmed truly bad behaviour?). I'm turning 30 next month and I'm a mess. I was never taught how to deal with the things which overwhelmed me, I was simply taught that I'd be punished for showing any discomfort. To this day I find it incredibly hard to reach out for help because it was taught to be a failure worth punishment because when I need help when overwhelmed my ability to communicate effectively is severely diminished (I go semi-non-verbal and cry or moan loudly) and that gets seen as "bad behaviour" as opposed to a cry for help.

    I really really hope that the same does not happen to your son. He's intelligent enough to have learnt how to make you more comfortable, so it's a shame that you have been unable to do the same.


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