It is often difficult for people with Asperger’s to accommodate to change, especially children. New environments, different people, and unfamiliar stimuli can create for very uncomfortable situations for the Aspie.
The following is a guided list of techniques that you can use to help the child with Asperger’s acclimate to change more easily.
6 Tips to Help Aspies Embrace Change
- Give aspie lessons on the benefits of a new experience and convince them that the new reality is better in the long run than their current reality. Give the lessons before the experience, if possible, and then show them through experience and example. Paint pictures!
- Have clear expectations and boundaries set in order to prevent manipulation. Stay in control of everything!
- Move into the new reality gradually (in baby steps, if necessary) as the child sorts through one difficult aspect after another, rather than all at once. Use simple logical tools to prepare the child for what the experience looks like and make it as simple and enjoyable as possible. Make it highly predictable at the beginning, then increase the difficulty level each time the child becomes acclimated to the new reality.
- Use a default object as a tool for behavior modification, such as a sticker or any other simple object that you know the aspie likes. Assign a meaning to the object so that the aspie can better understand the abstract underlying significance of an experience.
- Always reflect on what happened and why. Aspies love details! They like to get a strong conceptual foundation for something before they engage with it. The only exception being that their own curiosity immediately kicks in and they try something without a second thought. Either way, give them the details to pique and maintain their interest.
- When the child becomes upset or overwhelmed, remove them from all stimuli into a silent environment, if possible. After regaining the child’s attention, let the child know what to expect and how to handle it. Go through it again and again if possible until the child becomes comfortable in that environment. Sort through the stimuli at any time (before, during, or after exposure to it) until the child accepts it all. In short, a mind-body-spirit-experience type of change is in order.
The bottom line in getting aspies to embrace change is to take it one step at a time and to not adopt black-and-white thinking.
Instead, identify the numerous shades of grey in between that each constitutes a reason why embracing change is difficult. Finally, take advantage of the aspie’s “bad” habits to propel them forward into new realities.
By Reese Eskridge
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