Children on the Autism Spectrum and Video Game Addiction

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Bolton, video game addicts show the same personality traits as kids who are suffering from Aspergers (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). These young people find social situations stressful. The study has fueled concerns that video gaming may lead to a rise in mental health problems like depression.

During the study, researchers examined nearly 400 gamers (most of whom were male). The subjects were questioned about how much they played video games (researchers did not specifically test participants with AS or HFA during the study). The research revealed that the higher the time the participants spent playing video games, the more likely they were to show 3 specific traits usually associated with an autism spectrum disorder: (1) neuroticism, (2) lack of extraversion, and (3) lack of agreeableness.

This outcome suggests that children on the autism spectrum may have a higher likelihood of becoming video game addicts, because it allows them to escape into a world where they can avoid face-to-face interactions. In addition, these kids may be prone to addiction to MMORPGs (massive multi-player online role playing games).

Children and teens on the autism spectrum often can’t make eye contact and fail to pick up social cues (e.g., boredom in others). The researchers say that tends to isolate them and can trigger depression, which video games may encourage.

Treatment for AS and HFA usually consists of improving social skills and breaking repetitive behavior, the very things video games discourage. Video games don’t prepare these young people for interacting with real people. Also, as an older teen or young adult, video game addiction is known to cause problems with motivation, going to college, and finding employment (you can’t walk into a college or job interview and say that you are really good at playing Xbox).

While most people associate addiction with substances (e.g., drugs or alcohol) therapists recognize addictive behaviors as well:
  1. If the person does not get more of the substance or behavior, he becomes irritable and miserable.
  2. The person needs more and more of a substance or behavior to keep him going.

Compulsive gaming meets these criteria, and many therapists have reported seeing severe withdrawal symptoms in game addicts. They become angry, violent, or depressed. If moms and dads take away the computer, their "special needs" youngster may sit in the corner and pout, refuse to eat, sleep, or do anything else.

Unlike substance abuse, the biological aspect of video game addiction is uncertain. Research suggests gambling elevates dopamine, and gaming is in the same category. But there's more to addiction than brain chemistry. Even with alcohol, it's not just physical. There's a psychological component to the addiction (e.g., knowing you can escape or feel good about your life). The addict is trying to change the way he feels by taking something outside of himself. The cocaine addict, for example, learns, I don't like the way I feel, I take a line of cocaine. For gamers, it's the fantasy world that makes them feel better.

The lure of a fantasy world is especially pertinent to online role-playing games. These are games in which a player assumes the role of a fictional character and interacts with other players in a virtual world. An intelligent youngster who is unpopular at school can become dominant in the game. The virtual life becomes more appealing than real life.

Too much gaming may seem relatively harmless compared with the dangers of a drug overdose, but video game addiction can ruin lives. Kids who play 4 - 5 hours per day have no time for socializing, doing homework, or playing sports. That takes away from normal social development (e.g., you can have a 20-year-old adult child still living at home with the emotional intelligence of a 12-year-old … he's never learned to talk to girls …never learned to play a sport ...never learned to hold down a job).

Spending a lot of time gaming doesn't necessarily qualify as an addiction. Most people play games safely. The question is: Can you always control your gaming activity? According to the Center for On-Line Addiction, warning signs for video game addiction include:
  • Feeling irritable when trying to cut down on gaming
  • Gaming to escape from real-life problems, anxiety, or depression
  • Lying to friends and family to conceal gaming
  • Playing for increasing amounts of time
  • Thinking about gaming during other activities

In addition, video game addicts tend to become isolated, dropping out of their social networks and giving up other hobbies. It's about somebody who has completely withdrawn from other activities.

The overwhelming majority of video game addicts are males under 30. It's usually kids with poor self-esteem and social problems. They're intelligent and imaginative, but don't have many friends at school. A family history of addiction may also be a factor.

Unfortunately, many - if not most - parents of kids on the spectrum view their child's constant game playing as self-soothing behavior with few - if any - negative consequences (e.g., "he's entertaining himself ...he's not hurting or bothering anyone ...he's happy"). But what parents fail to realize is that, as the clock tics and the years pass, their child is losing opportunity after opportunity to develop emotional muscles (a big problem with the disorder anyway - but exacerbated by years of gaming).

If you're concerned your youngster may be addicted to video games, don't dismiss it as a phase. Keep good documents of the youngster's gaming behavior, including:
  • How the youngster reacts to time limits
  • Logs of when the youngster plays and for how long
  • Problems resulting from gaming

You need to document the severity of the problem. Don't delay seeking professional help. If there is a problem, it will only get worse. Treatment for video game addiction is similar to detox for other addictions, with one important difference. Computers have become an important part of everyday life, as well as many jobs, so compulsive gamers can't just look the other way when they see a PC. It's like a food addiction. You have to learn to live with food. Because video game addicts can't avoid computers, they have to learn to use them responsibly. That means no gaming. As for limiting game time to an hour a day, I compare that to an alcoholic saying he's only going to drink beer.

The toughest part of treating video game addicts is that it's a little bit more difficult to show somebody they're in trouble. Nobody's ever been put in jail for being under the influence of a game. The key is to show gamers they are powerless over their addiction, and then teach them real-life excitement as opposed to online excitement.

(It should be noted that we are only recommending "abstinence" for the child who is truly an "addict" -- and it will be up to parents to make that determination.)

==> Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums in Kids on the Autism Spectrum


Anonymous said...

Sherri Caldwell
Conflicted. As the mother of 10yo Aspie and probable computer-game addict...I would not restrict all computer game play. There is a talent being developed there too, especially with kids who are programming. If a kid wants to read or play the piano/practice for a sport 6 - 8+ hours a day, it's virtuoso or dedication, but those kids are weird, too. Balance is important in all things. I don't think cold-turkey is the best way to go.
23 minutes ago · Like

Parenting Aspergers Children - Support Group Good point ...we're only recommending "abstinence" for addicts. It will be up to you to determine whether or not your child falls within the "addicted" category. If - and I say if - he seems to fall within the "addicted" zone, then you're taking a huge risk with the "he may be a computer programmer someday" mentality.

Anonymous said...

Good read. My son is 11 and has become quite involved with a particular game. I have to limit his time (and he will still ask when he can play). But he gets so creative with it as well, that I have decided for the upcoming school year that he will take a child's intro to computer science course and then try programming to help move his energy elsewhere. Hoping it's something he will like.

Anonymous said...

Mother of 17 year old male Aspie

My son cannot stop playing a game, when he is in the middle of the game or level. If you try to force him, he will get out of control and can be violent. Sometimes, if he is frustrated with the game, he can lose control, and appears to be having a seizure. he will break out in a sweat, and have behaviour that is out of control. After the incident, he has limited memory of his outburst. These episodes are very infrequent, but concerning. Anyone else having similar issues?

Anonymous said...

AshleyandJustin Fenton My 5 year old has known how to work a computer and every video game since a very young age,I see this as a good thing as long as im supervising and timing..ive been told aspies and autistic children like these kind of things so much cause THEY r n control
about an hour ago · Like
Sherri Caldwell Coincidentally (or not), my husband (father of 10yo Aspie), is a software developer and CTO of a technology company. There is a preponderance of Aspie-types in technology -- they are often highly talented, even brilliant, in that area; admittedly, not so much in social interaction! :). "Computers make sense, Mom. People don't." Balance...I'm just saying :)
about an hour ago · Like · 1 person
Victoria Conroy Jones Absolutely agree Sherri! Technology does seem to be the "thing" for my son with Aspergers as well but not so much with the social scene.

Mitze said...

I am not surprised by these findings. Read the book Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax and you will find similar results from his research. My aspie son would play day and night, barely stopping to use the bathroom or to eat if we let him. I believe it is easy to become addicted to video games especially for males (again, read the book Boys Adrift). Video games are also one factor of a number causing our male youngsters to fall further and further behind academically. Girls are outperforming our boys (Aspie or not) astronomically. Video games is just another way for boys to dis-engage from the world and turn to something that is nothing like what they will experience when they become adults. Leonard Sax sites video game playing as one reason why our boys have become so unmotivated. Video games and t.v. time are very restricted in our home (especially the type of video games and shows). Otherwise, my aspie 11 yr old would have an addiction.

Anonymous said...

sensible advice but how do you find something else that motivates them. I can find nothing for my son to do. We have tried almost everything (he's 13 now). Getting desperate!

Anonymous said...

Restrict video game time -- and they will find other things to do!

Sherri said...

I disagree somewhat with the comment that if restricted they will find something else to do. We have three kids w/ Asperger's and both of the boys can sit for a very long time w/o making an effort to find anything else to do when they've decided they want to game.
I agree they need to be limited or, in some cases, prohibited. But, the challenge is directing them to acceptable activities (especially affordable ones). It does take a ton of time and energy to redirect them, and I think most of us would admit to days when it is easier to let them play.
Again, I think they are not always effective at filling their own time or social calendar, and it may not be reasonable to expect them to do this on their own just because gaming has been restricted.

Anonymous said...

Jesus Mia Colon I agree it had got to the point in our house where we had to restrict the video games and cartoons as well with our son and try to get him to do some other structured activities. Before we set these guidelines it was just video games and cartoons all day long. Just the same battling for him to stop for his meals; thats when we realized that it was no longer just an interest but addiction.

Anonymous said...

We did take our son's video gaming away for an entire week - then we limited his time thereafter. About the second day of not having access to video games - he finally decided on reading (mostly about dinosaurs), which we consider a better use of time since he also created a great report for school about dinosaurs.

So I agree with the person who said they will eventually find other things to do!!!

Anonymous said...

As a mother of two boys, 10 and 12, with Aspergers I can totally relate to those who are searching for activities that are alternatives to video games. We fight this fight everyday but have found some alternatives. One I would like to recommend is Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

I am a Cub Master and have 3 boys in my Pack, including my son, with Aspergers. I also have several boys who have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.

Scouting is a program for all boys. It provides them with an opportunity to set goals and achieve those goals. They are able to learn to work as a team with the other boys in the Pack or Troop and to take on leadership roles. I have seen many boys who could not handle team sports such as baseball, football and soccer excel in Scouting.

Scouting is a program that embraces differences in the youth and supports boys with special needs. It is so gratifying to see a young boy work hard to achieve a goal and earn his badge, but it is even more rewarding to see that boy hold his head a little higher because he believes in himself and knows his Pack or Troop believes in him too.

Best of Luck to all.

Anonymous said...

My son will be turning 19 soon and he is at school... however he has been doing the same grade for over 2 years now and he has not completed it yet so next year he will have to finish it in order to finish High School!! He is being playing this game, over and over and because he is almost 19, it is hard to say anything to him because he becomes agressive, a lot of times he does not go to school. Because he did not finish his High School, it will be very hard for him to find a job, any type of job... he still lives in our home and does not do anything in the house aside from the computer games... he talks very loud when he is playing and does not care about the rest of the family who is sleeping... I even tried to unplug the computer and bring it with me in my car but he found a store where he could play computer games... and he would come home extremely late not telling us where he is was and not going to school the next day because he was too tired!!! Although your article is good it does not give enough solutions to the problem... I am a mother of 3 children with each a different disability. My oldest has asperger, my middle child has dysphasia and my youngest has autism... so I have to deal with each of them differently. It would be nice if I could find a miracle to help my oldest with his computer game addiction even though he denies he has one :(

Anonymous said...

I also agree that if game time is no longer an option, they will eventually find something else. We discovered years ago that our children (one with Asperger's, one gifted with MANY of the emotional components of an Aspie) got very cranky and irritable if they had too much t.v. or gaming time. When we restricted the time, they REALLY complained and were absolutely certain there was nothing else in the WHOLE world to do other than watch t.v. and game. I would agree with their misery and say, "I know, we are so horrible. You have no transformers to play with, we don't have an outside with bikes and dirt and shovels and rocks, you don't have any stuffed animals to play with, no markers, no paper, no paint, no books to read ... " you get the point. If they STILL couldn't come up with things to do, I had them fold laundry or put dishes in or out of the dishwasher, etc. It really only took about a day for them to get creative and excited about pretend play, art, being outside, etc. The end result in a happier, more productive child is SOOO worth the tantrums, pouts, and strong will YOU have to have to get there!

It's really about being wise and determined to do what is BEST and not just what is easiest. Parenting is tough work, and parenting special needs makes it a bit more challenging, but keeping the goal in mind rather than the struggle helps you tough it out and find amazing results!


Anonymous said...

For the mother of the 13 year old Aspie Boy. Mine has just (a week ago) turned 14 and is right into Magic the Gathering Cards.... Very intense as in lots of facts and characters to remember and what each card can do! it also has them playing matches/tournaments with others & like minded people. Look up Magic the Gathering on Google. Both my Aspie 14yrs and non Aspie 12yrs love it. it is a regulated world wide competition and association. good luck

Anonymous said...

Karen Gomez Vega we do not allow video games for that reason-i know they would become addicted. i do allow cartoons but i limit it to a small amount per day.

15 hours ago · Like
Michelle Coy I find this completely beleivable.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone experienced a melt-down if saved games or characters are deleted?

My son had a melt-down about 6 or 7 months ago when the hard-drive on the Playstation stopped working. He was devastated as he lost five years of "work"

Just this weekend, he is into a new game on his computer, and a similar scenario happened - saved too much stuff and crashed the hard-drive. He has been visibly upset and crying going on day two now.

Any thoughts, suggestions and how to help him get beyond this?

Anonymous said...

My Aspie son, 11 yr old, was addicted to video games. We "pulled the plug" and removed everything a month ago. Since then, we've actually observed him expressing feelings, attempting more physically, and overall greater joy. We plan to continue keeping video/computer games from his life to enable him to develop "real" interests.

Anonymous said...

A mother of a son who is 11 yrs and Aspie, my husband and I have become a game free home due to our son's addiction to video games. This year he began trying to adjust all his activities around gaming or being able to game. Socially a bad year at school, he was becoming more isolated and depressed. We have seen a dramatic change in him just in 4 weeks. He is happy, laughing, creative, reaching out to other things. He actually participated in a neighborhood soccer game....which was a first. We had limited and grounded him from games over the years but his mind always knew they would come back. I actually think he is relieved. Another friend of mine has a 20 yr old who had same characteristics who got highly addicted to World of Warcraft. He spent his entire first year of college playing games and failed school. We are being proactive to remove this lost potential situation from our home. ....and I agree....this is the solution for a child who falls in the "addicted" category, which our son does.

ny rehab center said...

Drugs and video games are both addicting and these problem should be stopped. Thanks.

Kevin Roberts said...

Thanks for this article. In my book on cyber addictions, I also made use of the study. I have many young folks with Asperger's who participate in my study groups. While they are often video-game obsessed, it is amazing how similar non-ASD kids are to those with ASDs after they have been playing video games. I see this first hand at my groups. What I have tried to do is channel this video-game predisposition in positive ways. I have been modestly successful, but it is always a challenge. My heart goes out to all you wonderful mothers who work hard every day trying to channel and develop what are often HIGH LEVEL talents. Please feel free to email me if I can be of assistance to any of you, and I would suggest my book as well. My experiences with a dozen or so young men with AS significantly assisted me in writing it:
Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap
~Kevin Roberts

Anonymous said...

I'm newbie and a new user in this forum, but I hope to help and be helped by others. :)

Anonymous said...

I have an 11-year old aspie who is also addicted to video games. It is a constant struggle in our house. At one point my husband put the computer away because of all the computer fights we had with him. He went ballistic when his "time was up." He really did become a different child. But we couldn't live without a computer in our house forever. He's now addicted again and very withdrawn. I appreciate everyone's comments and feel comforted knowing that others are going through the same nightmare. Luckily my son lost his interest in gameboy, which he would play at night when he was supposed to be sleeping. But now what he does when he's not playing video games is lock himself in his room. He spends his time watching youtube videos of other people play his current video game! We think it's crazy, but he's actually not leaving the video game world. I feel strengthened by the parent comments about getting rid of video games entirely. I hope we can overcome this struggle.

Kirsty C said...

I am the mother of a 14 year old AS son who is addicted to computer gaming. I read the comments of those of you who have younger children, and at least one mom has said she is conflicted because he's learning skills. I think our perspective leading up to the later teenage years is part of the problem; it is really difficult to see how this 'intense interest' can lead to something damaging - until they are 17 like another mom said and they are so addicted they become violent at even the suggestion they are stopped from playing.

My son has spent some recent days in hospital due to suicidal thoughts and bizarre behaviour - and this was during a time of having unlimited access (I wanted him to show he could manage his time, since he was adamant he was being treated as a child when given any parameters on usage).

Now we are trying to take him off for a long break and we're getting into all kinds of really challenging behaviours, including him declaring he'll kill himself if we do.

If I had the chance to go back in time to when he was younger, I would eliminate the computer & Xbox presence from our home completely. I had no idea his intense interest would become an all-consuming addiction with all the likeness of drug addiction. Taking away his access is like taking heroin away from a drug addict. Same withdrawal symptoms, and dangerous behaviours follow.

If your child is younger, is my advice...

Anonymous said...

Our 9yr old is constantly connected. It's Pokemon and Minecraft 24-7 here. If he's not playing, he's watching videos on youtube about playing or he's watching cartoons. I'm not sure why an interest in sports is any better than an interest in anything else. I just want him to find something else to do. If he goes over to the neighbors to play he ends up playing computer games over there as well.

As a computer science teacher I can say without a doubt that kids don't gain any skills from gaming. I always ask people if they drive, then I ask them if they are a mechanic? Same with gaming and programming. One has vey little to do with the other.

Poor Girl Couture said...

We banned video games 4 years ago, when our Aspie was nearly 5yrs old. he was already obsessing to the point of no control, so we cut it off. He can play the computer games we buy for him, that don't cause these issues, and he has no access to the internet on his computer. However, he is still obsessed with playing video games. At least once a week he will bring it up and start a huge argument over something we banned four years ago! I have no idea how to stop the obsession, and I fear letting him play again because I know how he is when he doesn't get his way; if we try to limit his time on it he will only go into his usual violent meltdown. So cutting them off doesn't always stop the obsession, for a kid this age to remain obsessed four years after not playing..... I'm at a loss of what to do! We can't even go out for pizza or to certain kid oriented places due to the arcade games on the premises.

Cat said...

We are struggling with a kid who wants to master his Minecraft modding and Java programming. I definitely have those feelings of "he's really interested and he's cultivating his mind". However, he also doesn't want to interact and is really exclusively interested in Minecraft. After reading this, I am all in favor of taking it away, but my question to all you wise ones is what do I replace it with? What activities do 11 year old boys engage in normally? Mine is not athletic at all and very uncoordinated. I know I sound stupid, but after reading these things, I know I need to do something. Also what do I do about sending him to summer computer programming camps? Do we just wait until he's older and he can renew his interest? And then I know his middle school work is 100% on the computer. Also we take away the computer to control behavior. Any help gratefully appreciated. Seriously I am in a muddle and need some guidance.

Unknown said...

This is a great article and describes my 11 yr old son to a t! His father was obsessive with gaming, he basically worked long enough to smoke pot and play video games for 80 hours a week. That was it, that was all- I didn't relies he was probably Aspie, I thought he was a jerk with no comprehension of others feelings and needs - but now it is so clear because my son is the exact same way and I have been reading about it. So I am not fighting it anymore, I am not going to try and change him, next year I will let him game as much as he wants in the summer, because he will eventually do as he wants anyway. His grandmother wouldn't let his father near games, he ran away at 15, he used a lot of drugs and when he moved out he became glued to the TV - so its coming, I guess I don't want the snap back that she had. My question is - how do you deal with the withdrawal? When we have to shut it off to leave for the park or any outing, or to clean the house for example, this leads to a 3 hour long withdrawal session. He is miserable and un-manageable- blowing up and overreacting to EVERYTHING. 3 hours is the normal run time for this behavioral disturbance when games are shut off. Is there medication to help with the withdrawals because they are real things- very real, mental and emotional and biological episodes. We need help and he needs to feel more balanced because it has to be miserable for him as well. How do you help him help himself recognize and deal effectively with major withdrawal behaviors? Im at the end of my rope with it, completely- just done really. At the point of giving up.

Unknown said...

I could cry....because THIS article sums up exactly how we feel. We started noticing these addictive traits in our 14 year old with Asperger's. People are telling us that we could set limits and let him play for "just a little." What they don't understand, and what I equated it to, and you basically took the words out of my mouth, is that it's like someone addicted to alcohol. Is it ok for an alcoholic to have "just a little?" The answer is obviously, or maybe not obviously, NO! Because we know they don't stop at a little. Addiction can show in many forms. We are full believers in video game addiction after seeing it in our son, i.e., how he'd get irate with us when we would tell him to turn it off, how he'd sneak and lie to play video games and hiding his devices so we wouldn't see, and how he would totally withdraw from people

We recently grounded him from all video games, tablet/phone/xbox, for bad grades for a month. Within a week we saw SUCH a change in him. He is talking to his brothers, wanting to go outside, and do things. He even signed up for football!! I seriously want to throw all technology away after seeing such a drastic change.

I want to shout this to the masses! If your child wants to do nothing but video games...there is a problem, and it will only get worse! I could not agree more with this post. THANK YOU!

Unknown said...

I have a 14 yo that I suspect is on the ASD spectrum...and very high functioning. He has always loved outdoors, riding bikes and skateboards, and finding things (sort of junk treasure hunting)...and video games! We have been able to limit access most of the time and for long periods of time because his whole personality changes when he plays too much. He doesn't sleep at night, stays in his room, and becomes easily irritated. Today when I simply said you're playing too much and you need to shower he became combative and was ranting about what ridiculous parents we are to think that video games are a problem. Long story short...he punched a hole in the wall and we had a big loud family argument. I am determined to just take it away for good...he can't self regulate around it at all. I worry about him because he never seems to learn for the long term. I took his video game player and his phone away because of the destruction of property. He will be remorseful at some point but it's just to move on and have life normal again...but as soon as video games are reintroduced it always goes in the same direction...he never learns to not do it all over again. I'm thinking it needs to be gone for good!

Unknown said...

My name is Kari. My son is 12 with aspies and is addicted to every kind of game out there. It doesn't matter if it's on the Xbox, computer, phone, tablet, it just doesn't matter. I've tried talking to his doctor who referred me to a therapist that suggested I ween him off. That didn't work. It just started more problems so we went cold turkey. He sneaks downstairs and gets on any electronic he can. He will pick the lock on my daughter's bedroom door and steal her electronics. He has even stuck in my bedroom in the night and stolen my phone and iPad. When he is supposed to be doing school work on the computer he sneaks on Minecraft or Slither.io (it's like centipede). He lies, steals, cheats, loses his temper, throws things, made holes in the walls, his grades are dropping because all he can think about is games. I'm losing my mind. I don't know what to do and I feel I've exhausted every suggestion out there. I even have to take the chords from behind the computer and Xbox at night... He still finds them. He has straight up told me that he has no drive, nothing he cares about our wants to achieve. I am currently laying on my couch gaurding all of the electronics because he has snuck down here twice tonight. I wonder if hypnosis works.

aspiemom said...

This is certainly not a boys only issue. My Aspie daughter is 14 and spends ALL her free time either playing games or watching funny videos online. She says she does it to calm her out-of- control obsessive thoughts. I see that it does control her anxiety and make her happy. She does fairly well at school academically, but has no friends and no other hobbies. I would hate to take away something that works at keeping her happy and keep her from obsessive thoughts. I'd like to hear stories of long term effects of limiting game time and if it made their child worse.

Unknown said...

If your kid is interested in programming and not simply "playing" I would personally allow it within reason. Being in a software development field myself, I can tell you that sucessful software developers are exactly that, obsessed and highly introverted. If he truly is interested in developement, you can try software called "Scratch" for kids. Also, what has worked for our 9 year old aspie is absolutely no game time until chores and homework are done. Any negative comments or backtalking and he loses it for the day. It takes constant reminders but if he's fully aware of the consequences he behaves much better. Also maybe try joining him in learning programming. If he speaks code he may respond better if you speak code too. :)

MML said...

"Don't delay seeking professional help."
OK - How do I find professional help for my 14 yo son?

Anonymous said...

We eliminated screens entirely from our home (it was that bad) my 9 yo now enjoys reading, playing board games, cooking, woodworking and caring for animals. We've observed that any time he is exposed to tv, a phone screen or video game at a friend or relatives house, he has what appears to be a rage hangover for several days following. He becomes extremely unable to cope with not getting his way. He becomes oppositiobal, unable to handle disappointment and experiences several meltdowns a day. After about a week off of screens he begins to even out. We've marked a blue dot on the calendar for each screen exposure and red dots for the meltdowns. There is without a doubt a connection.There are far more red dots immediately following blue and they gradually decrease until the next blue.The trouble is, it's nearly impossible to keep him away from screens long enough for him to be meltdown free for more than a few days here and there.

Eve said...

Hi, my nearly 17 Yr old, undiagnosed but definite aspie (has been on a 2 year waiting list in UK to be diagnosed) foster daughter is the same. I would say, she is not a girly girl and has boyish traits and is totally addicted to anime character building games. She designs and becomes a fictional anime character with a group of fictitious anime friends and shares the lives, loves and antics of these characters on tiktok. She has thousands of like-minded followers/friends but no wish to meet with 'real' friends outside the house, making excuses and keeping the couple she has at arms length. She also plays video games where there is participation by others, watches other YouTubers gaming etc. She is addicted, she rushes home from college and goes straight to the bathroom where she locks herself in for half hour with phone, just to update and reply to messages. From then on, she will go to her room and stay. I agree with the person who says they become so obsessed, they forget to eat or refuse to come down for meals and personal hygiene takes a dip for the worst - if we didnt tell her to wash, shower, teeth etc (complete with threats) she wouldn't. At school, we didn't allow her to take phone, but we found in her school bag an A4 inch thick ruled notebook, full of her story writings about her own invented fictitious character and those around her. Her mind couldn't switch off, so secretly, under the desk, she scribbled away! On a positive note, she has great imagination and an artistic talent. She use to play guitar well and make EDM music but has lost interest in everything else. Luckily, the talent remains, even though she doesn't do it. Another positive note, she loves animals and her college course is animal care. She enjoys the practical, outside with animals part of the course and does one day a week work experience at an animal park and another day work experience at a dog grooming parlour. We had to find her the work experience positions, as she wouldn't have bothered to herself...but feel it was worth it. You can't muck out donkeys or wash dogs with a phone in hand! We are also buying her a puppy and hoping the responsibilty will take over, to some extent. There has already been a change in her spending her pocket money on puppy items instead of roblox vouchers! We bought a 'snug' sofa for the lounge, just big enough for her and puppy to sit and she has started to sit in it, in anticipation of puppy's arrival. A small change, but it has got her downstairs, as we have said, the dog stays downstairs! Another positive is wifi goes off at night 10.30pm and phone outside at 11.00pm, to give her time to sign off. This is a routine already in place, so it's a good idea to get routines in place when younger and you can loosen the boundaries a bit as they become older teenagers...then they think they're getting something and you're treating them like young adults. There is still a problem with our girl's technology addiction...but we are hoping that we can keep/build on an interest that was always there - animals. Our fear is for when she leaves our care. My husband and I are pensioners, my husband 70...and we can't carry on forever but we will do while we are able and certainly while she is still at college. She has been with us10 years. We hope she will be able to live an independent life and we will be able to support her in it. Our fear is her just giving in to her technology addiction and giving up on everything else when we're not around to give her encouragement!

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem. No, these kids don’t find something to do.

Raising Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Parents' Grief and Guilt

Some parents grieve for the loss of the youngster they   imagined  they had. Moms and dads have their own particular way of dealing with the...