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).
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:
- 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.
- 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.).
- The daydreaming youngster is inattentive because he is lost in his fantasy world.
- 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
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—
- 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
Taken directly from: http://www.myaspergerschild.com/2012/06/emotional-aspergers-child.html