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Caring for Michael
13 Rules of Survival with Asperger's Disorder

By Jonathan A. Salit

(Page 1 of 3)

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 consistent!

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 saying learning.

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 so.

Remember we are the pack leaders, use what tools you have, improvise to make a better life for both of you. 

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?”


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