All about Child Aspergers Syndrome

In this article I will outline many of the most common characteristics to be found in children with Aspergers syndrome together with a simple explanation of why they behave in this way, and some advice with how to cope with their behavior. Firstly children with Aspergers Syndrome often display self-stimulating behaviors, i.e. rubbing their hands together, as a coping mechanism. This is usually seen during stressful times and serves to help them calm down or regulate their systems. It is not done as a means of acting out against others, but usually a response to changes in their environment that they cannot effectively deal with.

The best way of minimizing these self-stimulating behaviors is to minimize changes in their routine or provide them an escape in order to deal with those changes that must occur. Children with Aspergers syndrome thrive on routine and become easily over-stimulated in the face of change that they cannot control and even though this behavior is considered to be inappropriate, it may be the very thing they need. To simply demand that they discontinue the behavior is likely to result in other behaviors appearing, and those replacement behaviors may be even more difficult to deal with. Both you and the child will be better served by allowing the child to participate in the behavior but try to limit the time spent self-stimming. However, the child with Aspergers Syndrome is going to have a hard time fitting in, therefore teaching them replacement behaviors that may be more appropriate in the community would suit them even better. These replacement behaviors have to serve the same purpose as the self-stimulation behaviors did.

It is very common for an individual with Aspergers to become fascinated by a special interest that dominates the person’s time. It is important to recognize what the fascination may provide for this child before attempting to eliminate it or control access to it. The fascination or obsession may provide the order and consistency he/she craves. It may also provide a method of relaxation. Rather than try to eliminate these altogether (which is almost impossible), create a plan that uses these unusual interests as a reward for completed tasks. For example if you ask the child to complete a task that he/she is familiar with and in which he/she can be successful. Then give him time on the interest as a reward. This way your child will learn to manage and control the obsession better.

The child with Aspergers Syndrome can’t cope easily with transitions and changes. They need to know what is expected of them at all times, as well as what to expect from the world around them. Shopping trips that are lengthy, when they have no prior knowledge of the expectations, are bound to fail. In order to make these trips out successful, it is best to start with very small, quick trips. Take the child with you to pick up one item. Prior to entering the store, tell them why you are there and what you are there to get. Give them some “brief” cues on what will be expected of them. If they start misbehaving in the store, remind them the trip is almost over. After you have retrieved what you are there to buy, leave the store and reward them with verbal praise for their behavior, if it was acceptable. It is important to reward behavior, even if it isn’t perfect. They want to succeed, especially when it comes to fitting in. Only after several successful, short trips, should you try to increase the time spent in the store. If there is inappropriate behavior, beyond what any child would do, simply leave the store and try again another day. You can prime the child for good behavior by making sure that they are not already over-stimulated when you go to the store. Some physical activity prior to a shopping trip can make for a more successful venture.

This article was written to provide you with advice and information on how to manage some of the difficulties exhibited by children with Aspergers syndrome. Self stimulating behaviors, obsessions and the inability to cope with changes are among the most common problems reported by parents and carers. By recognizing and understanding the nature of these problems you are more than half way to solving them and developing better relationships with your Aspergers child.

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