Being the parent of an Aspergers teen can be quite frustrating and challenging. The lack of focus, the failure to turn in homework assignments, and the constant inconsistency with daily chores can cause friction between parents and teens.
A recent article published in Psychology Today draws attention to this issue. It appears teens with Asperger’s syndrome are easily overwhelmed by new situations, which results in anxiety.
In short, procrastination or laziness may not be the reasons why your Aspergers teen is having trouble in school.
What is Asperger’s Syndrome?
Asperger’s syndrome is a social development disorder that affects children and adolescents. Those who are affected by this condition tend to engage heavily in routine activities and encounter difficulties in communication, social interactions, and focus.
When dealing with new situations, these teens experience intense anxiety which prompts them to avoid, withdraw, or shut down.
Unfortunately, their ‘flight’ reaction to overwhelming stimuli can often be mistaken for laziness or procrastination.
How to help an Aspergers teen overcome procrastination
As a result of an erroneous interpretation of their teen’s reactions, parents often resort to punitive measures. In other words, they sanction what they believe to be laziness or procrastination.
Not only that this approach doesn’t improve school performance, but it can also generate more tension between parents and children.
Ugo Uche, the author of the article we mentioned above, believes a combination of mindfulness and cognitive behavioral approaches is a better alternative. By identifying the thoughts and emotions that result from feeling overwhelmed, teens can gain a better understanding of their avoidant behaviors.
After that, they can try visualizing themselves effortlessly achieving their house chores and school projects.
Teens with Asperger’s syndrome are neither lazy nor irresponsible. They just don’t know how to handle the anxiety generated by overwhelming situations.
Click here to learn more about Asperger’s.