My child with Aspergers has anger problems and also how do I help him understand what his real emotions are.
For children with Asperger’s, anger can be a major challenge. Many people do not realize the strong connection between Asperger’s Syndrome and behavioral issues like anger, anxiety, and depression. The very characteristics of Asperger’s lead to these behavioral issues. Some of these characteristics are:
* Inflexible thinking
* Sensory issues
* Gross and fine motor problems
* Narrow interests
* Social skills weaknesses
* Lack of language skills, especially social language, gestures and cues
Understanding Asperger’s anger is simple. Nearly all of your child’s anger stems from frustration. The characteristics of Asperger’s listed above (plus others) create a confusing and uncomfortable social environment. The natural reaction is frustration, and the natural escalation of frustration is anxiety, then anger.
Helping a child with Asperger’s understand his Asperger’s anger and other emotions, however, can be quite difficult. You must help him understand the cause of his emotions and then develop a plan to avoid the negative emotions that stem from frustration. There are several options available for the parent searching for anger management for their child with Asperger’s. Here are a couple of those options.
Many people with Asperger’s anger choose to try cognitive-behavioral therapy. This therapy is highly recommended for children and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is individual therapy designed around the idea that a person’s emotions and thought processes are what control that person’s outward feelings and behaviors. Most people tend to blame the situation or other people. This therapy places the focus on a person’s internal thoughts. In other words, if we think a certain way, even though the situation makes us feel the opposite, we can begin to feel better about that situation.
Not everyone with Asperger’s anger issues choose private therapy. For some people, these therapies are not covered by insurance or are simply not available. Others choose to handle therapy and learning situations at home, in their own way. This is perfectly acceptable, and in all honesty, quite helpful for the child even if you do choose private therapy. Support at home will increase progress. Some examples of home solutions are:
* Social stories can be written for specific behavioral problems and situations. These stories can put your child’s feelings into words and offer him simple solutions.
* Parenting discipline programs like 123-Magic teach parents how to use proper discipline techniques, which in turn, may diffuse some of the child’s anxiety and anger.
* Five point scale assessments teach a child how to recognize his anger or anxiety and prepare to control their emotional responses.
* Play therapy/activities make learning emotional control fun. “104 Activities That Build: Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, and Coping Skills”, by Alanna Jones, is a book filled with activities that teach coping skills. Read more about this book at For you child with Asperger’s, anger can get in the way of learning, playing, and life. Perhaps you can use some of the above suggestions to help him handle his anger and better understand his emotions.
Thanks for reading,