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I need help with DS who has Asperger's


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I hesitated posting this here, but I don't know where else to turn. DS is 13. He was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was 6. We started homeschooling when he was in 3rd grade. Just a bit of background.

 

The biggest problem we have with DS is how difficult it is to get him to do things that he doesn't want to do. I'm not really talking about school work, although that can be a problem as well. I'm mainly talking about how life in general. For example, DH asks the kids (DD is 11) to sweep the back porch. It has a bunch of leaves and acorns on it, but it's not a big porch and it's not a huge task. Together, it would take them about 15 minutes. He doesn't want to do it, and as soon as he goes outside, he "hurts his knee" and he's back inside, whining about it. I make him go back out and then he just becomes insufferable. Yelling at his sister, refusing to work, etc. I go out and lecture him about doing things for other people, but he just won't listen. Now, if he's promised some sort of treat (video game time, ice cream, a toy, etc.), he will do the work. I've seen him have a complete turnaround in attitude if he thinks he's going to get something out of it (or lose something he wants from his bad attitude). I don't know how to get through to him that we ALL have to do things we don't want at times. We ALL have/need to serve others at times.

 

This has been a chronic problem. I could tell you stories about Cub Scout campouts and youth group events and friends that come over. It's always SOMETHING!! It's not even always work related. A friend comes over and DS will not do anything the friend wants. He only wants to do what he wants to do.

 

Does anyone have any advice? DH and I are so very, very frustrated. How do we help him???

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From all the courses and seminars I've taken regarding ASD, this is pretty much normal. Aspies (and others on the spectrum) have a *very* difficult (if not impossible) time of understanding from another's point of view. He may never understand that other people have to do unpleasant things. Aspies are typically self-absorbed, and although you could drill it into his head and he could recite it back to you, he likely wouldn't *get* it. This is one reason that working for rewards works very well for kids on the spectrum. I'm sorry, the only advice I have for you is to continue with the rewards, and look into creating a few social stories modelling the behaviour that you wish to see from him. You'd have to read to him every single day and prior to every event that you expect this behaviour. This will teach him what he should do in these situations so it will become head knowledge... again, don't expect him to really get it. :grouphug:

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This is pretty typical with Aspies. For the longest time I resisted doing a reward system with my children because of all that I had read about it not being a good idea. Then one day I realized "My kids are on the autism spectrum.. They will NOT just do something because it's the right thing to do or because they feel good about helping someone else. They NEED the external motivation". After that realization, I implemented a reward system and we have had MUCH better flow with our days.

 

Our chore system is.... I have their chore cards for each day displayed on little pocket charts hanging on the wall. Once the chore is completed, they flip the card over. They then have a good visual of how much they've done and how much is left. I include personal hygeine too since Aspies have trouble with this. So brushing hair, teeth, getting dressed, etc is all on there.

 

The reward part is... I printed out "Daddy dollars" (with Daddy's picture) from here http://www.festisite.com/money/ and put them on the pocket charts next to their chore cards. They get the Daddy $ for the day once their chores and responsibilities are complete. They can then trade their Daddy $ at the Mommy mart for computer time, Wii time, or they can trade it for real money sometimes.

 

Now, to address behavior.. I have a very small magnetic board divided into five sections.. The five sections each have different priveledges written on them (tv, computer, wii, etc.). Each child has their own colored magnet in their favorite color. When there is negative behavior (backtalk, not listening, etc.) then I move their magnet down a level. They have to do an extra chore to get their magnet moved back up so that they have that priveledge back. This has worked better than anything I have ever tried. Especially for my Aspie who is obsessed with the computer! She will do anything to keep her computer priveledges!

 

Let me know if you need a visual and I can e-mail a picture of what I'm talking about.

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