Asperger’s Kids and High School-Organizational Issues 

In several posts I talked about kids with Asperger’s. I want to look at the issues kids face in High School and some suggestions for helping them.

Your child will face many challenges in High School.  One major challenge is that s/he will go to many more different classes and activities.  Aspies often do not handle changing from one kind of activity to another easily.  Changes can rattle them—causing meltdowns.  By this time you will have found out how your offspring deals with change.  You will need to help them anticipate each class and activity change and “psych” themselves up for it. Moreover, if your child has ADHD or OCD characteristics, which are quite common with an Aspie, your child will be even more vulnerable and will need help in this area.

One suggestion is to have them wear an analogue watch—one with a face.  Yes, I know kids use their cell phones to tell time.  But that requires more action than looking at a wristwatch.  An analogue watch is easier to read and can give a sense of time passing.  An Aspie can start to gear her/himself up by knowing that in fifteen minutes, s/he will be in a different activity.

Another suggestion along the same lines is that you and your child should sit down with the school guidance counselor beforehand and discuss your child’s needs.  One possible solution is to arrange a schedule which minimizes the shifts your Aspie needs to make.  Another is to arrange breaks whenever possible.

A third issue is to decide which schedule works best for your child—an early, regular, or late schedule.  Aspies often have some sleep difficulties.  One client of mine lived a twenty five hour day in twenty hours.  What that meant was that each day, he was an hour off.  It also added up, so that the second day meant he was two hours off and so on.  Occasionally, he “reset.” It would be helpful to know how your child functions on different schedules and try to accommodate her or him.

A second challenge is that of food.  Many Aspies may be finicky eaters.  They may have unique food preferences.  By this time you should have a good idea as to what your child eats and how often s/he changes what they eat.

The school may have a limited selection of foods.   You should find out what they serve.  It may not be possible for them to accommodate your kid’s diet.  So, make sure you can provide her or him with foods that s/he likes.  Again, by this time, if your child has any food allergies, make sure s/he doesn’t eat foods containing them at the school cafeteria or at school activities, which is another whole ball of wax.  If your child is on medication for co-occurring conditions like ADHD/ADD, particularly a medication like Ritalin, s/he may need more food throughout the day.  Make sure the teachers and the coaches and the activity directors all know that.


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