michelle33 asks:

How can I help my son deal with Asperger's syndrome?

My son has aspergers syndrome, he hasnt been tested but i am 100% sure he does . Hes 12 years old and I am just now finding out. It definitely explains alot of things going on. One of my sons repititions is calling his sister fat and ugly and it breaks my heart to see how everyone is affected. He is obsessed with calling her names. I always feared he had no conscience but I now see i was wrong thank goodness. How do I make him quit and understand how hurt he is making her feel. When I discipline Hayden my son it makes things even worse.   Help michelle
In Topics: Autism & Aspergers Syndrome
> 60 days ago



Mar 6, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Michelle,

It must be so frustrating and difficult to see your son and daughter struggle around this issue. I think that it is wonderful that you have gained a greater understanding of your son and are reaching out to learn new strategies for supporting him and managing his behavior.

As you have most likely heard by now, one of the primary characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome is a difficulty relating to and understanding the intentions and feelings of others. Children with Asperger's Syndrome find it especially challenging to "walk in someone else's shoes." As a consequence, your son is most likely engaging in this behavior for control or to get a reaction from your daughter, but he most likely does not understand how he is affecting her feelings.

I have a couple of suggestions: First, I believe you should initiate a campaign of information in your household to educate your son (and everyone else in the family) about the importance of being kind to one another. Talk with him and let him know that people's feelings are often closely related to the way in which they are treated by others. If he hopes to be successful with teachers, friends, and eventually in a job, he must learn to be kind to others. To help him, you are going to set up a program at home to remind him. Post a calendar at home and add a sticker for each day that your son makes positive and loving remarks to his sister (you will most likely need to write down a list of such comments). He is automatically ineligible for each day that he makes an unkind remark. For immediate gratification, you could provide him with a special treat for each day that he is compliant with the program (e.g., a small dessert, special time with mom or dad, fifteen minutes on a game system, etc).

Finally, I think that you might find it useful to read a book by social worker, Paula Jacobsen. The book is titled, "Understanding How Asperger Children And Adolescents Think And Learn." Paula has provided therapy and support for children and adolescents with Asperger's for many, many years, and she has gleaned a strong understanding of the way in which their brains function.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Education.com Team

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