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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Hey guys, I've made a few posts here in the past but not much recently. I am the aunt (pseudo mom) of a 9 yo boy who was diagnosed with Aspergers. I am here now because I am completely at a loss and am at the end of my rope. Bugga used to be the sweetest, happiest kid, but lately he has gotten so angry and defiant. We worked with a local group of trained therapists last year and they taught him coping skills and social interactions and everything. He seemed to be doing okay and they decided he was ready to "graduate" from the program.

He has been seriously back sliding. His current obsession is with video games, particularly Plants vs. Zombies and anything Mario. Given the choice, he would spend every minute of every day playing video games. That's why we regulate his time. He gets one hour a day (2 on weekends) but he has the opportunity to gain or lose minutes based on behaviour. It worked at first but it doesn't seem to anymore. Right now he has locked himself in the bathroom. He threw his homework and everything (place mats, newspapers, nothing breakable or damaging) all over the dining room, slammed his door, hit the wall repeatedly even after I warned him not to, and kept yelling that I was "trying to ruin his life" and that he didn't want to live here anymore. 

This all came about because I told him he had to do his chores before he would be allowed to play video games (a rule that we always have and that he has agreed to). I am at a loss. I've tried being patient, I've tried reasoning with him, I've tried consequencing, I've even tried yelling and cursing and threatening, He won't listen. He is incredibly defiant and angry and I have no idea what to do with him. I'm even getting to the point where I'm considering spanking him (even though I usually am against that) but he's too big and I'm afraid it would turn into a struggle and someone might get hurt and that would absolutely kill me. 

Is anyone else dealing with this? Is it a symptom of aspergers? Or is it something more like oppositional defiance disorder? I'm seriously sitting here crying because I feel so helpless and impotent. 

by on Jan. 14, 2013 at 7:06 PM
Replies (21-23):
AspieAuntie
by on Jan. 16, 2013 at 3:11 PM

We have been in close contact with Bugga's teacher and school counselor and they hadn't really noticed the conflict until we told them about it. Yesterday the teacher, counselor, Bugga, and the ringleader of the kids that were teasing him had a meeting during lunch. The outcome seemed to be good, though he won't tell me exactly what they discussed since he "can't remember." He wanted to stay and play on the playground after school yesterday and I watched him initiate a game of tag (the very game that was upsetting him). He asked if some other boys wanted to play tag and I heard one respond with "yeah, and you're it!" Bugga calmly responded with "No, we have to choose fairly, come put your hand in the bowl and I will do 'bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish.'" Surprisingly the kids complied. They even let him pause the game to add rules about how long and how many times someone can go "on T" (time out). I was very proud of him :)

Bugga doesn't actually know that he has asperger's. On one hand, I want him to understand that it is okay to be different and that there is a reason that he doesn't react or interact the same way as other kids and that it doesn't mean there is something wrong with him. On the other hand, he tends to use that sort of thing as an excuse to not try. He is so "high functioning" that some psychologists say he doesn't have asperger's. His school counselor agreed that he does but that he isn't on the autism spectrum, which confused me since I thought that Asperger's WAS on the autism spectrum. We are going to try to implement some changes around the house in how we reward and consequence (completely taking video games out of the consequence area) and try to lighten his load at school and see if that helps the outbursts. I also plan to talk to him regularly about how things are at school, to make sure things don't get bad again. Once the changes are fully in place for awhile and he is secure in them, then I will talk to him about his diagnosis. I want him to see that he can do well in school and at home before I introduce the concept of autism. He seems to have very low self esteem and I'd like to bolster it a bit so he doesn't immediately take the news of asperger's as it being something "wrong" with him.

Quoting jeda1429:

i would definitley share what he told you with the people at his school. If the other children are not making him feel accepted and he is being made to just let it go then there is a problem there. I would talk to him and the teachers and see how they feel about possibly putting a program in place to educate the other students about autism. I know my son is having a much easier time ( he is eleven) since he has learned more about his autism and is able to advocate for himself. He can tell the kids " Sometimes I act different because I have autism, but that's just who I am." I have found that the other kids become curious at that point and want to know more about it. he needs to know that it is okay to stand up for yourself when someone is unkind as long as you do it in a respectful manner. You could try role playing what to do in a situation where someone hurts your feelings.


jeda1429
by Member on Jan. 16, 2013 at 4:56 PM

 And yep Aspergers is definitly on the Autism spectrum lol I think sometimes people just find it to be less harsh if they say Aspergers instead of high functioning autism.

Quoting AspieAuntie:

We have been in close contact with Bugga's teacher and school counselor and they hadn't really noticed the conflict until we told them about it. Yesterday the teacher, counselor, Bugga, and the ringleader of the kids that were teasing him had a meeting during lunch. The outcome seemed to be good, though he won't tell me exactly what they discussed since he "can't remember." He wanted to stay and play on the playground after school yesterday and I watched him initiate a game of tag (the very game that was upsetting him). He asked if some other boys wanted to play tag and I heard one respond with "yeah, and you're it!" Bugga calmly responded with "No, we have to choose fairly, come put your hand in the bowl and I will do 'bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish.'" Surprisingly the kids complied. They even let him pause the game to add rules about how long and how many times someone can go "on T" (time out). I was very proud of him :)

Bugga doesn't actually know that he has asperger's. On one hand, I want him to understand that it is okay to be different and that there is a reason that he doesn't react or interact the same way as other kids and that it doesn't mean there is something wrong with him. On the other hand, he tends to use that sort of thing as an excuse to not try. He is so "high functioning" that some psychologists say he doesn't have asperger's. His school counselor agreed that he does but that he isn't on the autism spectrum, which confused me since I thought that Asperger's WAS on the autism spectrum. We are going to try to implement some changes around the house in how we reward and consequence (completely taking video games out of the consequence area) and try to lighten his load at school and see if that helps the outbursts. I also plan to talk to him regularly about how things are at school, to make sure things don't get bad again. Once the changes are fully in place for awhile and he is secure in them, then I will talk to him about his diagnosis. I want him to see that he can do well in school and at home before I introduce the concept of autism. He seems to have very low self esteem and I'd like to bolster it a bit so he doesn't immediately take the news of asperger's as it being something "wrong" with him.

Quoting jeda1429:

i would definitley share what he told you with the people at his school. If the other children are not making him feel accepted and he is being made to just let it go then there is a problem there. I would talk to him and the teachers and see how they feel about possibly putting a program in place to educate the other students about autism. I know my son is having a much easier time ( he is eleven) since he has learned more about his autism and is able to advocate for himself. He can tell the kids " Sometimes I act different because I have autism, but that's just who I am." I have found that the other kids become curious at that point and want to know more about it. he needs to know that it is okay to stand up for yourself when someone is unkind as long as you do it in a respectful manner. You could try role playing what to do in a situation where someone hurts your feelings.

 

That all makes sense and it sounds like you are doing a great job! I had a lot of the same concerns when it came to telling my son about his autism. He is very high functioning as well. I was actually surprised that he seemed to embrace the information when I finally got around to telling him about his diagnosis. He was actually diagnosed border line Aspergers, but I just call it autism because nobody knows what Aspergers is lol When I first told him about it he would tell people that he had a disorder that sounds like hamburgers.:) He Told me just this week that before he knew that he had autism he just thought that he was wierd and that he was getting help to be more normal. But now that he knows that he has autism he knows that there are other people out there that are like him. I'm really proud of him for accepting it so well. But I know that there are kids in his social skills group who get mad about it and say that they don't think they have autism, so your concerns are definitley valid.  Good luck and keep up the good work! It sounds like he is very lucky to have you

AspieAuntie
by on Jan. 17, 2013 at 11:24 AM

I just wanted to update you guys. I tried the new schedule yesterday and there are definitely some kinks to work out but I think it has potential. It was the first day in about a week that Bugga didn't have a complete meltdown. He started lashing out at my father and when I called him on it he immediately asked for his new "anger recorder." I got it and showed him how to use it and he asked us to listen to some music, went in his room, closed his door, and vented. He came out later calmly, singing even! The problem, though, is that the recorder is new and still a novelty for him so he wanted to play with it all through homework time. At one point he even recorded a message to me (though I had explained ahead of time that the recorder was just for him and that none of us would ever listen to it) that he insisted on playing for me. The message said, in a calm voice, "Auntie, don't cry or anything but I wish I was with Mama (what he calls his other grandmother) right now. I'm sorry." He usually uses the fact that he wants to live with Mama instead of us to hurt us when he's angry. The fact that he was calm about it and worried about making me sad was really a break through. I acknowledged his feelings, saying that they were completely justified and that I was grateful that he told me in such a considerate way. So far it looks like the recorder will really help him verbalize his thoughts and feelings, rather than just lashing out at the people around him. 

The drawback to the new schedule was that I gave him a little TOO MUCH video game time and he had to rush rush rush to get his homework done before bed (being rushed is something that usually sets him off). He was also particularly wired and I don't know if it was because of the extra game time or something that happened at school or what. Anyways, I plan on trying it again today, with a shorter game break after school, a brief one during homework time, and lots of it as a reward for completing his chores. Thank you all for your advice, I truly appreciate it :)

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