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KansasTherapist
KansasTherapist, LSCSW
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Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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My 19 year old son has Aspergers and ADHD and he is severely

Customer Question

My 19 year old son has Aspergers and ADHD and he is severely addicted to a computer game that he plays (extremely well!) as often as he can. Sometimes he stays up all night playing it. Then he wont go into college because he is too tired.

How can I get him to behave more sensibly and take his studies more seriously.
Ideally I would like advice on how I can get control over the computer and computer game access. We need the internet for our business and so cant turn it off (as payments come in 24 hours a day.)
I need a way to negotiate with him but he is extremely bright and not always able to understand common sense (at least from my perspective.)
I have tried just backing off and this did work for a bit but then he started up again.

Currently i just nag and get cross with him. The more I ask him to do something the less he wants to do it. We can talk calmly with him but he never follows through on what he agrees to. He forgets or denies he agreed to things even when it is in black and white (and he really believes his story).

He doesnt socialise, eat, exercise much at all and he just sits at the computer all day every day.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  GeneralistWindylen replied 2 years ago.

windylen :

Thank you for contacting JustAnswer, I am happy to assist you today. Will post my answer in a while. Thank you!

windylen :

Actually, your son's problem should have been corrected when he was younger. He is already 19 years old and therefore, a critical age. My advice would be, get a tutor who will attend to him on a regular basis. This will help him develop his study habits. Also his attitude will be modified gradually.

windylen :

If you have found my answer helpful, please click "Accept", so I can be compensated for my time. Positive feedback and bonuses are also appreciated. Thank you for posting your question at JustAnswer!

Customer :

it would be useful to have some specific suggestions. do you have any experience in working with teenagers with aspergers syndrome and what has worked with them in this kind of situation?

windylen :

Yes, I do have. If you want, I will opt this question, so other expert assist you?

Expert:  Cher replied 2 years ago.
Hello Customer, and welcome back to Just Answer.

I just wanted to let you know that a request has been submitted for your question to be moved to the most appropriate category, so that you are able to receive an answer from an Expert familiar and experienced with your son's condition.

We thank you for your patience, as moving a question sometimes takes a little time.

Best regards,
Cher (no reply is necessary, as it will block the other expert from replying)
Expert:  Martin replied 2 years ago.
Hello.

Depending on his level of Aspergers i may be able to help. If you want to talk to your son 20 years in the future to ask him how you could help him right now, this is probably me the way to describe him and his relation with you:)

How do you rate his Aspergers?

What is the game in question?
When did he start playing this?
Does he play other computer games?

What does he plan to do in life?

How are his grade in college?
You mentioned him being bright, his he also knowledgeable and cultivated?
What other interests did he have in the past (as young as you remember).
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I do not understand what you are saying. I think i really need an expert in the area of Aspergers syndrome to be honest. Thanks for trying to help anyway.
Expert:  KansasTherapist replied 2 years ago.
I hope I can help you with this.

You've already established somethings that don't work, taking the computer away, nagging, and contracts. You've had talks with him about the importance of doing his school work and even if he agrees to a plan he won't stick with it. So, let's look at some other options.

For many people, playing video games is a stress reliever. If we start with the idea that your son needs a certain amount of stress relief every day, you and he can look for ways to balance stress relief with responsibilities. After establishing what those stress relievers are and a reasonable amount of time he can spend doing them, then you have to have some way of enforcing the limits. My suggestion is, move the computer out of his room to a slightly more public area of the house. I understand he needs a certain amount of quiet to concentrate, so, hopefully, you can find a location that will work. Getting him out of his room will help you more easily see how he's spending his time.

Let him know that if he spends more time relaxing than agreed on, he won't be able to play his game the next day. You can enforce this by removing the keyboard. To get the keyboard back to do his school work, he has to be supervised enough hat you will know if he starts the game. Even if he refuses to work and spends the time watching tv, it won't be long before he will follow through because he wants the game time back. This will probably be a battle of wills for a while but you need to stick with it to get his attention.

Of course, you applying this structure isn't the ultimate goal. The goal is to get him to structure his own time. Let him know that the more responsible he is, the more he can make his own decisions. If he can have a full week of doing what he needs to do, he get 8 hours on a weekend day, to organize his own time. The better he does, the more time he gets. For example, after two weeks of you not having to intervene, he gets, 8 hrs on two weekend days. This can be adjusted to what the two of you agree on. The point being that, once you have an agreement, you'll be consistent no matter what he says or does. He can say he didn't agree to it, or he doesn't remember, but you'll still have the keyboard if he's not following the rules.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if there are things I can clarify or if you think there are parts that won't work.

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KansasTherapist
KansasTherapist
Mental Health Professional
565 Satisfied Customers
17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.