Q: Our son has Asperger’s and is now in secondary school. His attitude is changing and he seems to be getting more rude and angry. He’s socially awkward, and people don’t understand his behaviour. How can we help him, and more importantly, help those that befriend him understand how to deal with this kind of behaviour?
A: The teen years can be frustrating for any parent, without the added challenges of Asperger’s (now classified as a high functioning autism spectrum disorder). Our hearts go out to you and your son.
First, we’re assuming your son is receiving ongoing psychological care. That is critical. Talk to your son’s therapist about the changes in his behaviour. It’s possible that some of the problems can be minimised through medication, diet, supplements, and other therapies. But that determination can only be made by a qualified professional.
When it comes to helping other people understand, direct them to a web site or other information related to Asperger’s. Don’t embarrass your son or “make an example” of him. Rather, discreetly approach his teachers and the parents of his friends in an effort to educate them. Here are some resources:
- The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities [
- The Autism Society [http://www.autism-society.org]
- Autism Speaks [http://www.autismspeaks.org]
- Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage, and Meltdowns, by Brenda Smith Myles and Jack Southwick.
- Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum: A Parent’s Guide to the Cognitive, Social, Physical and Transitional Needs of Teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorders, by Chantal Sicile-Kira.
Finally, don’t hesitate to call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation. They can also provide a referral to a qualified counsellor in your area.
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