I’d like to start my answer by complementing you on really sticking by your son and supporting him, even during challenging times like this one. I’ve given careful consideration to the information you provided me in your presenting question and in our chat.
It seems to me that that a part of your frustration relates to the lack of the positive impact you would like to see result from discussion and insight on your son’s part.
That ideally you would like him to problem solve with you, his supervisor at work and his counselor, and apply the resultant strategies to rectifying his choices and behavior related to work. As with neuro-typical adults, facing similar challenges related to work-avoidance and negative mood, it may be quite valuable here for you to look at adding a science-based intervention to your current approach of trying to explain and problem solve with your son.
What will likely help your son is a systematic behavioral intervention that looks at ways of increasing and maintaining your son’s motivation to follow through on work related tasks and to more effectively and pro-socially manage those situations (people, places, things etc.) that trigger and/or maintain your son’s meltdowns. An evidence- based and collaborative behavioral intervention will enable you to reliably rule out the extent to which environmental vs medical or non-behavioral interventions are better indicated. It will also very likely enhance the effectiveness of counseling based on insight and problem-solving, just as the behavioral component in the standard cognitive behavioral treatment approaches is the one the evidence shows gets the best and most long lasting results.
My suggestion here is to work with a board certified behavior analyst. Working with a behavior analyst represents one the most practical and cost effective ways of helping your son change and improve his behavior related to work and meltdowns. You may have heard about Applied Behavior Analysis in work with young children with autism. What most people don’t know is that the same scientific approach behind ABA interventions for autism can be applied to help a much higher functioning person like your son, or like me for that matter. A behavior analyst is specially trained to work collaboratively with your son and those in his life and to provide the best science-based strategies for addressing the behaviors you’ve described here.
If you do decide to work with an ABA specialist, I recommend that you:
Interview a number of behavior analysts (they usually do not charge for a first telephone or e-mail consult) and ask them about their experience working with adult clients who have high functioning Asperger’s. Most behavior analysts will ask very detailed questions. If they don’t have directly relevant experience, you can ask for referrals to behavior analysts who do have relevant work experience.
Ask for free internet links and other information sources to really help you learn about ABA and how it can best help your son. I’d then share as much info as you can with your son’s counselor and perhaps his supervisor at his new work setting. The more they know and understand about ABA the more likely they will develop a stronger commitment to working with such an approach by seeing how it will benefit everyone involved. This in turn will increase the likelihood that the intervention is successful.
You may also ask if there are any advanced ABA graduate students who are in the process of becoming board certified, who may be willing to work with you and your son for free or at a reduced rate, in order to accumulate experience hours for their practicum towards BCBA certification. Not only would this provide you with a free or reduced rate for service, but it would also insure that a highly trained and experienced supervisor is directly monitoring the ABA intervention.
Well I hope this answer is helpful. If I’ve missed something, please let me know what it is so I can try to address it by improving the answer for you. If you like the answer, please press the “accept button”. Thank you.