Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How threats can backfire with an Aspie child

Before we discovered our daughter had Asperger’s, we were told it was ADD. One thing was always obvious to us, and that was she was quite a bit different than her sister. The parenting techniques that were successful on the older daughter were rarely successful on my Aspie.
I remember one day, I wanted my Aspie to clean her room. She laid in the middle of the room crying and then got distracted and ended up talking to herself. She laid there and did nothing for about an hour.

I went to her and said, “If you don’t start picking up your room, right now, I’m going to go get a trash bag and pick up all the toys on the floor and put them in the trash.”
Her response to me, “That’s ok, I’ll help you. I don’t like those toys anymore and you’ll just buy me new ones.”

Really, as a parent, how do you respond when your parenting technique completely backfires? The two of us ended up filling a trashbag with toys.

When I told her therapist about this episode, his advice was that just saying “clean your room” is too overwhelming for her. She walks in and sees endless opportunities of things she has to do and she can’t break it down and get started.

So, the plan was, tell her individuals tasks, such as: “Go pick up all the shoes and put them in the closet. When you do that, then come back for more.”

It became much like a mission game for her. She would be given one task at a time, like, “take this trash bag and pick up the trash off the floor, then come back for more.”

Giving her these line by line instructions helped her focus and achieve these little tasks. Her room wouldn’t be completely cleaned, but at least I’d get her to clean some of it and with a lot less crying and screaming.


Anonymous said...

O-My, our daughters are two peas in a pod... Mine would do the same thing, call my bluff. Regular parenting techniques just don't work... I don't even have another child that they do work on...

D. S. Walker said...

When she was younger I had to help my daugther organize her room. The task was too big for her to handle without help. Eventually she became the organized one and now she gets upset with her brother for not being as organized as she is. Rewards of getting to spend time doing something she wanted to do or small prizes of something she wanted worked much better than threats when we wanted her to do something. Good luck!

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