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  • Danny Raede 32

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

Basic Member

Posted

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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AspieMom23

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My 20 yr old daughter college student and I are constantly butting heads.  She  procrastinates constantly and doesn’t do her homework.  I try all the time to give her space, I leave the house, I come back 2 hours later and she’s literally done nothing except chat with her online friends on discord.  I can’t take away her computer since she needs it for schoolwork. I have to sit and basically stare at her so she doesn’t go on discord. It’s a constant battle everyday and we are both resentful and stressed out.  I’m at my wits end. 

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Theodore Seeber

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Posted

An idea from a hacker- learn about how to use the Hosts file to block certain websites.   This can be done on a computer-by-computer basis, effectively allowing you to turn off discord (or any other site) until the homework is done.  Make sure this fact is in a written contract (the only thing Big Bang Theory got right is written contracts define behavior better than shouting).

 

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Sherrie Kinard

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Posted

My oldest son is now 16, and as you so eloquently put, force doesn't work. My husband is ex-military so it is an interesting mix. He thinks force ALWAYS works...lol  And then it backfires...

 

To find balance, I insist that my son come up from his room and eat dinner with the family. I also insist that he does his chores, which requires him to leave his room. One of which is to get the mail. It is a goodly distance to the mailbox and back so that forces him to go outside and walk around. He also is required to take his dog for a walk; although, she is quite old now so she doesn't walk far anymore. He loves to have friends over or go over to their houses, but for now, that is all online. That of course suits him, and his friends for that matter, just fine. 

 

It is a balancing act...especially right now since he is no longer going into school but on an online learning platform. We have pretty strict controls on his computer so he cannot be online all day. He has a tutor so when he is doing his school work it is with his tutor and that is what they are doing. Outside of that, I have complete access to where he can go and if he can get online or not. He also has "reading time" which is still in his room usually, but not on his computer.  😉

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Suzanne Fisher

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Posted

My son is 25 yrs old. We just moved him into his own house across the street from us in a quiet residential neighborhood. My intention was to get him a roommate. Since we are in the middle of the COVID-19 quarantines right now, I have become his roommate!. In a way it has worked in my favor as he is usually out and about by UBER, buses and trains from morning until evening. Since that is not possible, he is at home and learning about his house. He actually likes it. We have had a lot of one on one time as well. I'm learning not to engage with him when he loses control. You can see it in his face and eyes. I try to remember that he doesn't like it any more than I do. What I do (when I am conscious of the situation) is, validate, then distract his attention and get him to eat something. There are plenty of times though, that I try to stay calm but end up losing it too. We are all 'a work in progress'. 

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Twila And Takai

Basic Member

Posted

Hi, it seems as if I have the youngest in the group. She will be 11 May 11. I have found that she gets a little bit wrapped up into her ipad as well. I tell her ahead of time what is expected 15min before she has to do that certain thing. I also set Alexa so the timer will go off. She has to tell Alexa to stop. I also tell her that if she does not get up and do what she needs to do when that timer goes off she loses her ipad for a mystery amount of time. It depends on how I am feeling that day. So far this is working. 

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Adrienne Desantis

Basic Member

Posted

My son is 22 years old and lives with me. He has a very low tolerance for confrontation. He never gets violent but he shuts down if he does not like the conversation and says "sure" fine"whatever". I use to blow and force, but I have learned to walk away and I don't address hot topics about him anymore. I guess that is what his counselor and psychiatrist are there for. As long as he is not making any bad decisions, He is overall a quiet, soft hearted guy. I leave him alone. We eat dinner together every night  and have some time together but all surface talk. As long as I don't ask any "uncomfortable questions" we are fine. But I really am not fine because I hate walking on egg shells in my own home and I hate not being able to have conversations as one would want and expect. It breaks my heart and I am sad watching him in defense mode and being non productive.

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Aspie Mom

Basic Member

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I'm an Aspie Mom.  Instead of arguing with my son about how much time he spends on computer, we talk about it instead.  He tells me about a game or that he was able to talk to his friends online.  This is his social comfort and during this pandemic it's important for me to enter his world and listen and observe and yes, even learn a few things.

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Dorothy Morrow

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Posted

My husband and I took your recent excellent Accountability course and our son took your Breaking Free course, also excellent. We would like to refer to the course without rewatching all of it to find the relevant parts we would like to revisit. Is there a way you could provide the “slides” to those of us who purchased the courses, so we could print them out and keep ourselves on track? The courses were extremely valuable to us. 

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Jòhn Levine

Basic Member

Posted

A military environment can work for some (but not all) on the spectrum.  Speaking from experience the structure and discipline can be soothing.

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Michelle Anstee

Basic Member

Posted

I’ve certainly learnt that my 16yo doesn’t respond to force. My husband is in the police force so just like another post, this often has serious conflict which has never ever worked. When conflict arises my son won’t do what’s being forced and will completely shut down and then become very hard on himself and depressed. We’ve learnt for a while now things just can’t be forced. But it is still very difficult when it comes to things like getting out of bed and doing basic tasks around the house. I’ve tried contracts, discussing and agreeing beforehand, consequences you name it and it still comes down to if HE wants to. Positive is he is generally a really good kid so it’s not like we have to deal with bad behaviour it’s just participating in the household and general life actions. 

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Karen Tamsitt

Basic Member

Posted

I am a Community Care Worker (high care dementia needs), so am still working during the lockdown in Australia.  I have 2 teens with ASD, and am loving having them at home.  I have found, over the years, that force just doesn't work - and neither does 'carrot and stick".  I have let the boys sleep in every morning (I know they are anxious about Covid, and I know that sleep is very important), and have given them 1 chore each to start off the day.  For one it is making his bed, for the other it is cleaning out one small section of his very messy room.  I've found that completing that one small task each day means that they have accomplished "something", and is improving their self esteem.  On-line schooling starts again on Wednesday, and I am working with their schools so that they are not required to "work to the timetable", but rather complete the allocated weeks work one topic at a time.  The school is not very happy, but I need to do what is best for the boys, and it gives them a sense of accomplishment when each subject is completed.  We are also playing online trivia together on Saturday nights, and have at least one family movie or game night a week.  Still too much screen time, but I'm ok with that.

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Marcelo Lucas

Basic Member

Posted

My son is 11 years old, and recently he has become more and more aggressive. He has a few good days, where he complies, does his school work, and follow instructions, but on a larger scale, he is always defiant, not willing to do his school work, and disrespectful. When he gets upset, it takes both myself and my wife a tremendous effort to calm him down. We do notice that the more we raise our voices, the more aggressive he becomes, and the more defiant. When we try to talk to him on a quieter tone, we can't get him to understand why he needs to take a break from that task which is upsetting him. He spends most of his days either playing games and watching YouTube, and we can't get him motivated to do anything else. 

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Andy  Moses

Basic Member

Posted

On 4/25/2020 at 4:13 AM, Adrienne Desantis said:

My son is 22 years old and lives with me. He has a very low tolerance for confrontation. He never gets violent but he shuts down if he does not like the conversation and says "sure" fine"whatever". I use to blow and force, but I have learned to walk away and I don't address hot topics about him anymore. I guess that is what his counselor and psychiatrist are there for. As long as he is not making any bad decisions, He is overall a quiet, soft hearted guy. I leave him alone. We eat dinner together every night  and have some time together but all surface talk. As long as I don't ask any "uncomfortable questions" we are fine. But I really am not fine because I hate walking on egg shells in my own home and I hate not being able to have conversations as one would want and expect. It breaks my heart and I am sad watching him in defense mode and being non productive.

Hi Adrienne

I really feel for you. As a parent too, I know how hard it can be to see things happening that concern you for your child.

But if he really is fine and his counsellor and psychiatrist are assisting, my thoughts are that this is YOUR challenge.

Please don't get me wrong, I would be feeling just as you do. But I think the question becomes can we learn to accept this reality so it doesn't break our hearts.

Do you see a counsellor?

Are you supported emotionally by anyone else for all the hard work and effort you make?

If you are and I'm stating the obvious, please accept my apologies.

But it sounds like you are doing an amazing job, he is making his way and sometimes all we can do is learn to accept what IS, while learning to let go of what we would have liked.

Please don't be too hard on yourself. I'm sure your son does much better for all your efforts, though sometimes as parents, all we see are the things they still cannot do.

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