Different Types of Children with Aspergers!


Dear Readers

Here’s an excellent article I read regarding children with Aspergers. It’s pretty long but I think it’s worth it:

The Emotional Aspergers Child

Many children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism fall into one of the “emotional types” listed below. Their feelings control their actions. These kids have many more tantrums, are less available, easily disengage, and are more prone to defiant behavior.

This is the most difficult type of Aspergers child to deal with, because rules – and the reasons for rules – mean much less to him. The parents and teachers who have to deal with the emotional Aspie often find themselves in a state of frustration or crisis. Many of these children will end up on medications for their issues, because their coping skills are poorly developed and inadequate to meet the demands of home and school. But that’s o.k., because the right medication and an effective behavioral plan can do wonders.

Type 1: The Fearful Aspie—

This is the most difficult type of emotional Aspie:

  • Even the slightest issue is a source of provocation.
  • He is unusually bright.
  • He sees the world from an adversarial point of view (e.g., the world is against him, everyone is out to get him, and no one can be trusted).
  • He wants to “destroy” people who go against him in any situation, no matter how trivial.
  • His actions are hostile and aggressive to others.
  • His thinking involves violent themes.
  • Once he begins his attack, he can be relentless until he is exhausted.
  • The only coping strategy he has is to maintain a good “offense,” and so he attacks before others do or say anything.
  • Typically, he receives multiple diagnoses (e.g., Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Bipolar).
Suggested Parenting Techniques: Since this is the most difficult type of emotional Aspie, parents must take extraordinary means to help him. Placating the youngster will only give the parent a momentary reprieve. Most moms and dads of these children refrain from physical interventions, but may be using a good deal of restraining techniques. Again, this is a temporary solution. Parents must seek professional help in terms of both medication and behavioral interventions. They also must stay calm in their interactions with these children. Only the most powerful reinforcers may be of some use. A highly structured environment with firmness is needed, along with great persistence and patience. Dealing with this type is something you don’t do alone.

The ADHD, OCD, and Daydreaming Aspie—

The factors marking these three subtypes – ADHD, OCD, and preoccupation with a fantasy world – are very closely related. In all three, the youngster is often described as being inattentive, but there are a number of reasons for the inattention:

  1. If he is an ADHD youngster, he is inattentive because he’s not focused on any one thing for very long. He is distracted by anything new or different that passes in front of his eyes, and his interest moves from one thing to another.
  2. The OCD youngster, on the other hand, is inattentive because he is highly focused on something of interest. He is not so much distracted as preoccupied with something else that has greater appeal, usually related to some preferred activity (e.g., videos, numbers, how things are placed in his environment, etc.).
  3. The daydreaming youngster is inattentive because he is lost in his fantasy world.
Some Aspergers children have one or the other, ADHD or OCD, and most have both to varying degrees. Since symptoms of both disorders can exist at the same time and to varying degrees, it can be difficult to tell which is which at times. In either case, the result is a lack of awareness of what is going on around him. But, it is important to distinguish between the two and decide how much each contributes to the inattention, because the parenting technique for each will be different. Under-focusing (ADHD) and over-focusing (OCD) are important variables that must be addressed, as well as the youngster who gets lost in a daydream.Type 2: The Predominately ADHD Aspie—

This youngster:

  • has difficulty attending to and processing information on a consistent basis
  • has difficulty conversing because he is always looking around the room at something else, but doesn’t stay focused on any one thing very long
  • has significant difficulty keeping track of school assignments
  • is easily distracted and forgetful
  • lacks focus
  • loses things
  • may not be able to stay in his seat at school
  • wanders around in the classroom
Suggested Parenting Techniques: Medication is very important in dealing with inattention and impulsiveness. Careful monitoring of all tasks and situations, along with powerful reinforcers, is sometimes helpful. This child will find it hard to stay focused on most tasks. Frequent breaks, structured tasks, and supervision are all necessary. If parents find the right medication, the inattention reduces significantly, but may not disappear.

Type 3: The Predominately OCD Aspie—

This youngster has many obsessions that take him away from the here and now. Although he appears inattentive, in reality, he has other thoughts that he is dwelling on (e.g., is everything around him exactly where it belongs, how many dots are in that ceiling tile over his head, are his shoelaces tied the way he likes them, etc.). The list can be endless. But no matter what is on his list, it usually takes precedence over everything else. He is often a perfectionist – everything has to go a certain way. If it doesn’t, it’s the end of the world. There is no middle ground – everything is black or white. It is either perfect – or it is terrible. He may have completion rituals where things must be finished before he moves on. All of this and more can be going on in his head and cause him to disengage from reality and become unavailable.

Suggested Parenting Techniques: 

Parents should attempt to gain control over this child’s obsessions. There must be limits and restrictions on certain activities. Rituals and routines are addressed through sabotage. Teach him how to be more flexible by changing routines. Expand his repertoire of interests, teach him shades of gray, and have him develop a balance in his life. Obsessions will remain, but parents can use them as reinforcers as long as they limit the amount of time spent on the obsessions.

Type 4: The Predominately Daydreaming Aspie—

This youngster is very similar to the OCD type, except his distractions primarily involve his preoccupations with fantasy (e.g., fantasy books, Japanese animé, Pokémon, show tunes, cartoons, TV shows, video games. etc.). If, for example, the fantasy involves books or music, he doesn’t need the actual object to experience its pleasure. So he replays, re-creates, or in some way engages in the obsession in his head. As he is eating dinner, sitting in class, doing his homework, or talking to his parents, there is another video playing in his head – a video that is all about fantasy. He may perform word-for-word scripting of dialogue and scenes in his head, or combine different ones together, or make up his own based on something he has seen or read. These fantasies serve many functions (e.g., they are enjoyable, they remove him from the unpleasantness of the real world, demands are reduced, everything goes just the way he wants, etc.). Consequently, reality is avoided, interactions with others occur less frequently, and life goes on without him. This is how he copes with stress and reality. Interfere with his preoccupations, and you will experience his wrath. Leave him to his preoccupations, and he can entertain himself for hours.

Suggested Parenting Techniques: 

Everything that was suggested about the OCD type applies here. In addition, parents must go beyond those techniques to include teaching the child the difference between reality and fantasy, how to recognize it, what constitutes each, and how to be in the here and now. Parents should limit fantasy time and help the child to develop the ability to enjoy non-fantasy activities. If he can’t enjoy the real world, he won’t want to be a part of it. Medication is needed in some cases.

Type 5: The Stressed Aspie—

This youngster differs from all other types because he has no coping skills. While every other type experiences stress to some degree, they cope with it through rules, rituals, obsessions, or daydreaming. The stressed Aspie has never figured out how to deal with problems. As a result, his stress overwhelms him and he shuts down (e.g., hides under furniture, cries, wants to stay at home, acts silly, wants to stay inside, tries to avoid people and places outside of his comfort zone, etc.). He is very rigid, but doesn’t really know the rules of the world. His stress comes from his confusion and lack of understanding of how the world works. He usually needs much more time to handle even the smallest issue. Parents will know if they have a stressed Aspie because he cries quite a bit, clings to parents in new situations or with new people, doesn’t want to leave his house, and when away from home often tells parents he wants to go back home immediately.

Suggested Parenting Techniques: 

This youngster needs a great deal of structure, routine, and explanation about every possible troublesome situation. Parents need to explain the rules of each situation, including what to do and what not to do, before he experiences the situation. Give him lots of warning on what is going to happen, preparing him for change. Never overwhelm him. Go slowly and don’t try to accomplish too much at one time. Help him get past each issue that has occurred, to “get over it” and move on. These are the prevention aspects of dealing with stress (i.e., try to prevent situations from overwhelming him). However, that will never be sufficient, and he will need to learn how to cope with it as well. Teach stress management skills (e.g., stress resiliency, stress immunity, learned optimism, “theory of mind”). Teach him emotional regulation skills (e.g., stress management, self-calming, being okay). Medication may be needed if these skills are difficult for him to learn.

Type 6: The Defiant Aspie—

This youngster:

  • argues about everything, and almost anything can lead to a tantrum
  • can be violent
  • doesn’t understand the way the world works and becomes anxious as a result
  • feels threatened by others and thinks they are trying to control him or are being unfair and arbitrary
  • has his own rules about the world and how things are supposed to be
  • is easier to deal with if – and when – he feels safer
  • is often diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • may look similar to the fearful type, but he is less adversarial and less intense
  • needs to fight with others to gain control and get things straightened out to his way of thinking; however, his arguing does nothing but further aggravate the situation and his rigidity, lack of understanding, and disuse of logic prevent him from seeing this clearly
  • relies on his feelings to determine his actions
Suggested Parenting Techniques:
Try to avoid power struggles. Do not show much emotion in your responses, and try to be matter-of-fact. Stay focused on a particular issue, and don’t get sidetracked as you have a discussion with this youngster. It’s very easy for the discussion to get off track and become nonproductive. Try to see his arguing as a sign of stress and not purposeful misbehavior. Try to get him to see you as a problem solver rather than an adversary. Don’t over-focus on the content of a discussion, but rather on the process (i.e., what is going on behind the content of the discussion). For example, a discussion may begin around what he is going to get from you for his birthday present. Before you know it, you are being accused of buying his siblings bigger and better birthday presents. Rather than debate the merits of this argument (which will only escalate further), parents should discuss how he is stuck on certain ideas that will only lead to greater upset, and the impact his actions have on himself and others. This child needs to begin to see his role in what is going on and stop blaming others for what occurs. Teach him how to stay focused and how to self-calm, as well as how to compromise and negotiate. But most of all, he needs to see the parent as trying to help him solve his problems, not making them worse.
Type 7: The Pessimistic Aspie—
This youngster tends to be more of an irritation than anything else. He does a lot of complaining and whining about doing things that are not preferred activities, because he only enjoys preferred activities. As a result of his actions, there can be a good deal of arguing and refusals. He usually sees the world in a pessimistic way and rarely sees the good aspects of an event or situation, no matter how much good has occurred. Tantrums, bossiness, rituals, and rules are not issues. He may even be fairly cooperative at times. The major concern regarding this youngster is that he is more prone to future depression than any other type.
Suggested Parenting Techniques:
This child needs to learn to be comfortable with non-preferred activities and that it is better to “say nothing than be pessimistic.” Teach him how to use positive commenting and responses. Direct instruction in how to have a “positive attitude” and “learned optimism” is needed.
In this post, we’ve talked about the Aspergers child who is more emotional than rational, and we have examined the subtypes of the emotional child: fearful, ADHD, OCD, daydreaming, stressed, defiant, and pessimistic. Each Aspergers youngster has issues that make him unique. It is his uniqueness that reveals what subtype he is and what parenting techniques need to be used. When parents understand their youngster and his interaction with the world, they will be better able to help him reach his full potential.

Taken directly from: http://www.myaspergerschild.com/2012/06/emotional-aspergers-child.html

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