My son was diagnosed with Aspergers recently and although he has made some progress I am finding it a little difficult as we live overseas and there is little support here so I am learning very quickly from books and websites. I understand that role play is useful to encourage him to develop empathy and I have tried to do this whenever he has had a negative experience (e.g. a disagreement with a friend). One problem, however, is that occasionally when I have said "How do you think your friend felt when you shouted at him?" he has just denied that anything happened. How can I take the conversation forward if he insists there is no issue to address?
Hi Marie, well I would come at it from the perspective that your son finds it very difficult to empathise. So asking him how the other child felt/would feel etc. is a really big ask. Instead you will have to teach him what the other child thinks. 'When you shout, it makes friend feel scared/annoyed' etc. Maybe you could show him some pictures of faces to back it up. He is probably denying it because he doesn't understand the emotions involved.
Thanks everyone. Apologies if this sounds like a silly question - are there any social stories available to download or in book format? I know if I write my own and print them he won't take them seriously. Also, athough he knows he has Aspergers, he doesn't like to talk about it so a ready-made book (that doesn't draw attention to ASD) might have more impact.
There are lots of ready made social stories, look on autism websites or search Amazon for some. There are also social story apps out there - I haven't used any yet, just starting out myself with them for our ds.
OP another way to get your son to look at things is to say "When this happened you shouted at your friend. If you did that and he shouted at you, would you like it? What would you think/feel?"
I have found that turning it round to say "if it happened to you would you be happy about it? No? Well he probably isn't either." is the best way for my DS to get the point. Its perhaps worth a try. I know it seems like a small distinction but in DS's head its a huge one to put himself in the place of another so if you word it so something is happening to him, he gets it.
Thanks for all your advice. I feel I'm learning through trial and error but am confident we will get there in the end! We read "All Cats have Aspergers" and although it was a lovely book I felt it wasn't relevant to my son. "The Blue Bottle Mystery" was great and my other son worked out very quickly that it was about Aspergers. I will look at the other book recommended. I am keen to avoid the terms "Aspergers" or "ASD" because I get the impression he is sick of me talking about it so I want to approach it in a subtle way if possible.