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Caring for Michael
13 Rules of Survival with Asperger's Disorder
1. You are the caregiver and they
are the patient. It can be very easy to slip into
their world. It takes a conscious effort to avoid.
Do not get caught up in their craziness. Be the
alpha dog, be strong, be kind and above all else, be
Michael will say, “The rules did not say ‘Michael,
do not do this’,” so he thought it would be ok.
2. Behavior modification is key.
Slowly, almost painfully slowly, along with
consistency, you can improve the quality of both
your lives. Nothing you, or anyone else can do, will
change this patient; the best we can hope for is
some sort of common ground through positive
cognitive behavior modification, a fancy way of
One of Michael’s things is food, so when he decides
to act up, and every one does, I simply tell him his
punishment will be chicken. Now understand that
punishment chicken is really no different than
regular chicken in the way it is prepared, but in
his brain it is a punishment because I labeled it
Remember we are the pack leaders, use what tools you
have, improvise to make a better life for both of
3. You will begin to see Asperger’s
everywhere and in most people. When you see it in
yourself, it is most distressing. Do not be
concerned; we all have it. I have come to understand
and respect mine other than loath it.
4. There were times at the
beginning that I thought I was really getting
through. I now realize that the best I can ever hope
for is some sort of recognition.
It was just after one of these heartfelt talks that
I asked, “Do you appreciate everything that your
brother-in-law has done for you?” His answer, as is
often the case, came as a question. “Can I have an
extra dollar to go to the store tomorrow?”