Hi, I'm Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger's Syndrome
Survival Guide. In today's issue we will discuss...
What do to about Meltdowns
The following email is representative of many I get on the challenges of behavior
problems with those with AS.
I am a single mother of a 12 year old child with Asperger’s. My son was
diagnosed about 6 years ago. It has been so challenging for me and for
my younger son to always know the right way to deal with my son. I love
him so much and would do anything for him but sometimes…he makes it so
For example, last night I was going through his school supplies with
him. This year he begins middle school and will have a locker for the
first time. The school requires a combination lock. I asked for them to
make an exception and allow for him to use a key lock. They included
this exception in his IEP.
He does not want to use a key
lock because he doesn’t want to be different from the other kids. I
bought him a combo lock and believe me…I should have stuck with my
instincts!! He exploded with
frustration last night, verbally abusing me and his brother. I
finally gave up and took him to the store to pick another lock that was
much easier for him to use than the traditional right, left, right
turning combo lock. By the end of the night, I felt like I had been beat
…it is tough being a single mom.
Thanks so much for putting together such a wonderful collection of
useful information and advise for parents going through the journey of
raising a child with Asperger’s
To prevent meltdowns, you must understand why they occur
AS kids meltdown and become verbally abusive (and sometimes physically
violent) primarily because they reach the end of their patience. They are only kids! And life is
totally bewildering to them and hostile much of the time. The combination lock simply pushed him
over the edge.
In addition, if your loved one is in middle or high school there is a
90%+ probability that they are being bullied in school. This leads to anxiety, stress and
depression. This constant taunting and bullying is one reason why teenagers, in
particular, are so fearful of seeming different . This boy may fear that the combination lock is
just one more thing that he can be teased about.
Define a safe place
I suggest that you work with your son and find a "safe place" for him.
It could simply be his room. Make sure that there are black out shades that can be pulled to get
the room as dark as possible.
Make sure the room is as quiet as possible. Work with your son and
train him that any time he begins to feel overwhelmed, he should go to his safe place and calm
down. Simply lie down. Maybe pull the covers over his head. But let him escape to this safe
Overcoming the bullying is an entirely different issue. And one that is
not easily solved. I cover this area extensively in my Aspergers Guide for Teens and Young
Adults. While the solution to bullying is complex to cover here, the first thing you
must find out is the extent of the bullying. Ask your loved ones if they are being picked on --
being hit -- being called names. They may not even realize that there is something that
can be done to stop it.
Sensitivities to sound, smells, clothing, temperatures...all
AS kids get overwhelmed very easily. They tend to have very sensitive
hearing, sensitivities to smells, to clothes, etc. It does not take much to push them over the
edge. Work with your son so that he recognizes when he
is getting near the edge so that he does not get pushed over the edge.
The same goes for school. The school should provide him with a
quiet safe place that he can retreat to if he is overwhelmed. Maybe this is in a guidance
counselor's office. Maybe the administration office. But it should not be a place that is too
noisy or with a lot of commotion.
Seek first to understand
A major objective of my book, The Asperger's Syndrome
Survival Guide is to help you understand how an Aspie views the world. Once you
understand and see the world through your loved one's eyes, you will be much more able to solve
your loved one's problems and help them.
Note: my newly released book on Aspergers for Teens and Young Adults discusses bullying, anxiety, depression and what to do about it. Click here for more information:
Note: my newly released book on Aspergers for Adults discusses
how to make and keep friends, building relationships, employment, depression and the meaning of
life, therapy options and much more. Click here for more information:
This is just a small part of the answers you will need to successfully survive and thrive with
Aspergers. If you are looking for additional information immediately, go to the following site: