Helping Your Adolescent with Asperger’s Syndrome

  • Use visual props and aids (e.g. calendars or lists) to help your teen stay organized and on track
  • Use clear, verbal instructions and explanations (e.g. for rules, expectations, etc.)
  • Strive to be patient and calm, even when you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed
  • Be understanding and empathetic regarding your teen’s limitations and challenges

What to Do When Things Escalate

Adolescence is difficult for almost everyone.  With Asperger’s it can be particularly difficult to navigate.  Occasional emotional “meltdowns”, which can lead to withdrawal, shouting, aggression, or fits of rage, are also not uncommon in teens with AS.  Social challenges, sudden changes, academic pressure, and rejection are just a few things that can trigger a meltdown or worse.

Many teens with Asperger’s develop co-existing disorders, such as depression, anxiety (particularly social anxiety), and substance use disorders (the latter often develops as a way to cope).  In the U.S., suicide is the second leading cause of death among all teens between the ages of 15 and 19.  Teens with AS and one or two other disorders, particularly depression alone or combined with substance abuse, the risk for suicide can be dangerously high.

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