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  • Danny Raede 24

Force Doesn't Work Here!

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Danny Raede

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I sometimes feel like dealing with people with Asperger's is like playing Dungeons & Dragons as a Gnome Wizard and then stumbling into a non-magic zone. 

"Haha! Your tricks won't work here!" 

The "normal" tactics that we reach for as a society tend not to work well with folks on the spectrum.

In other words: people with Asperger's tend to not respond well to force. I was on a train last night coming back from Los Angeles and the guy behind me was talking about his experiences in military school, and all I could think of was that if someone came up and started yelling at me and telling me what to do, I'd either just laugh at their attempt to control and intimidate me, or shut down and curl up into a fetal ball (depending on how stressed I am that day).

What DOES work is helping them get out of Defense Mode. Validating their emotions, holding space for them, and communicating in a softer, gentler way. It's important to remember that folks on the spectrum are usually REALLY overwhelmed already, and so the best thing you can do is make them less stressed, not more.

So ask yourself "What is causing them stress, and whats the best way to remove that stress?" and then start from there.

That being said, all humans need some stressors, and having them hide in their room all day and avoid the world isn't product either (and actually causes them more stress). So it's a fine line and a fine balance between the two things. 

So here's my question to you: What do you to to try to find that balance? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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Mike Maguire

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My son is 22 now but we still find it difficult to set up timely processing of situations. It is extremely difficult to properly address his emotional state relating to a stressor while preparing for what's next. We try to validate his right to feel the way he does but if we need to move into an event of activity it can be frustrating for everyone. We have found that postponing an activity is easier but does seem to work is letting him know we can and will process later and in a calm manner address what initially created issue and again let him know we understand-by repeating what he states created issue-then reaffirm with him that we can discuss it later. Thank you for this article. 

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