25 answers

4 Year Old with Aspergers

My four year old son has been recently diagnosed with Aspergers. It has been extremely tough. He is so angry all the time and I feel like a horrible parent. I am working on getting him into counseling here as soon as possible. He sees a psych once a month and we have applied for the developmental preschool, its just a waiting game right now until we can get more evaluations for that. Does anyone have a child with Aspergers? We are fighting to figure out what type of discipline works best for him, and so far, we haven't found anything. I feel like I am going to loose my mind, LOL

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Try cafemom.com. They have a lot of groups there and I know there are some on aspergers. Moms talk with each other and help each other. There is usually at least 1 who has been thru what is happening to you. My email ____@____.com

I have a friend from high school who has two children with Aspergers. I have lost contact with her but, if you would like, I can try to find her! I believe that she started a support group for families with Aspergers. Last time I heard, she was living in Iowa but, she may have a lot of good information for you?! Just let me know! My e-mail is ____@____.com Just let me know if you want me to try to get the two of you in contact with one another!

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Hey J.!

We have a child with Asperger, and age 4 was quite a challange. It seems that a child with such good verbal skills on the surface should be able to be "reasoned" with, but they cant be.

For our daughter, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and vision therapy were all very helpful to bring her skills up, and for kids with AS, they really seem to already have the skills, then get in trouble because they don't really perform as well as we think that they should (given how smart they are) so they are always in trouble, or anticiapting being in trouble.

One area that we dont think about is automaticity and sequencing. These kinds of skills can be very poor, meaning, they may have brushed thier teeth just fine one day, but the whole sequence of actions is not automatic to them and it takes a lot of concentration, often beyone thier maturity and frustration levels, to do it again independently. Instead of just brushing thier teeth like they did yesterday, they have a melt down, or break something, or lay down on the floor and wipe the past on themselves...etc. Visual schedules can help them with these simple tasks. Get a polarid camera, and take a picture of each step, then put them in order in a flip type (4x6) photo album or use notebook rings to bind them so that he can flip through each step as he goes. Break it down into the smallest steps you can, take out the paste, take of the cap, put the brush in one hand, the tube in the other, squeeze, etc. I know it seems small, but if you give him several of these for the simple sequences, he may hve more energy to behave later on the big things.

If he has sensory problems, find something that he can do to self soothe. Water or soap, bubble baths, or a small tub full of corn meal to play in may help him deal with frustration.

Another suggestion is to tell him what you want him to do, instead of what you want him to stop doing. This works, and espeically for our kids, they really cannot turn around what you just said and do the opposite. Say, put your feet on the floor, not stop jumping, and they can do it. Be concrete, use no ephamisms at all, no "in a pickle" or "on the ball" etc. Say EXACTLY what you mean, and explain this to anyone who deals with him on a regular basis. Avoid the people who wont listen (and there will be a few!)

Our dughter is 16 now, and doing OK. We had the most luck with Developmental Pediatricians, with psychiatrists as our treating physician. Pharmaciticals worked for her to alieviate some of the symptoms. These will change every few years, so don't get comfortable with how he is, it changes as they grow. Anxiety, depression, agression, attention, mood disorders, OCD, handwriting difficulties (dysgraphia), preopreception (knowing where your body is in relation to the rest of the world- dyspraxia) and speech and language delays (even though they have big vocabularies) are common. Just like any other illness, it is standard to treat the symptoms that you see, and sometimes medication works well, sometimes therapy works, and for some symptoms, he will need both.

Once he is in school, his social deficit and inablity to get the "main idea" will be very challenging. Start now by looking for a social language social skills group to practice social skills and make sure that every teacher realizes that he does not understand as much as he seems to.

Read, read, read! Start with Tony Atwood, and move on to anything you can find. As he ages, go to www.wrighslaw.com and learn about IDEA and section 504, you will need to lean to advocate for him at school.

good luck!


2 moms found this helpful

That must be hard...did the doctors who diagnosed your son not give you any information about groups of parents who have children with Asperger's? My good friend has three sons with Asperger's and has had to change a lot of things about her life and has found that the only way she copes is speaking to other parents like her. I know that the big thing she did was to change their diet by cutting out dairy and wheat. She said that it was night and day in regards to their behaviour. There are quite a few studies about it and I don't know if you would want to try something like this. I wish I could help!

My almost-5-yr-old has high functioning autism (which, to be honest, I'm not sure what the difference is). We started with a chart with him and after a while we didn't even need the chart. We also have used a voice scale with him because he seems to not have been euipped with an "inside voice." That has worked as well. Sometimes things take extra explaining, but he can usually calm down pretty quickly. As with any discipline, just be consistent so you don't send mixed messages. I wish you the best of luck.

A lot of people have had success with 1-2-3 Magic, but my smart 4yo started manipulating it so it's no longer effective. Timeouts don't work for us either. Our social worker gave me a book "The Explosive Child" to read, and it was right on for us. You basically pick your battles and work with your child to help him figure out what he's frustrated/angry about, and stop before meltdown starts.
I wish I would've read this sooner - I've read so many parenting books before this, and nothing ever seemed to fit my son's moodiness/temper. He's only been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and is receiving therapy, and we have seen great improvements. Feel free to email me if you have any questions! Good luck!

My prayers shall be with you
Heres a site of interst:

I have a friend from high school who has two children with Aspergers. I have lost contact with her but, if you would like, I can try to find her! I believe that she started a support group for families with Aspergers. Last time I heard, she was living in Iowa but, she may have a lot of good information for you?! Just let me know! My e-mail is ____@____.com Just let me know if you want me to try to get the two of you in contact with one another!


You've gotten some good advice, but don't blame all behaviors on Asperger's syndrome. I have known 2 individuals with Asperger's, one family, one friend of family, now grown, and they never had any behavior problems like you mentioned.

Research the Asperger's websites and get books from the library. There is so much more information out now than 20 years ago.

Hi J.-

I've been there! My son, now ten years old, was dx'd with Aspergers' Syndrome when he was four. What I have learned in the past six years is mutual respect starting with the parent as well as positive reinforcement works best. Believe me, I've tried it all...time outs, yelling, spanking, removal of privledges, etc. For my son, anyway, this just reinforced his difficult behavior. Things that I have done is had tally charts where after he does something appropriate (like right now we're working on not talking back or arguing when I make a request) he earns a tally. We predetermine how many tallies he needs to earn something special....a trip to the movies, going on a family day trip, etc. I tailor the reinforcer to his interests to keep the motivation up. A variation on this is keeping a bean jar....each time he makes a good choice, beans go in the jar and when the jar is full we enjoy some special outing that he enjoys. I dont' take away tallies or beans (I used to and boy did that send us into a tailspin) but remind my son that when he is acting in a disrespectful manner, no beans or tallies are being earned.

I know that your son is younger that mine, but as my son grew up, I really stressed to him that he is in charge of his behavior. He will try to tell me that he "can't help" screaming, hitting his sister, backtalking, etc....I just remind him that he is an intelligent young man who is capable of making good choices and I have seen him make good choices many times.

Good luck to you as you travel the special ed maze....getting him into a developmental preschool is an excellent start. My son really benefitted from that. Also, if there are social skills groups in your area, check those out. There's also lots of funding available through your county. You need to make lots of calls and be very persistent, but I promise you, it's well worth the headache.

Take care of yourself too....

A little about me:

I am 38 and have been married for 15 years. I work full-time and have a son (age 10) and a daughter (age 8) In my spare time, I like to read, garden, and spend time with my family.

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