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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I have a 32 y/o son who was diagnosed with Asperger's

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I have a 32 y/o son who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was 12. Since then he has been taking Resperidal which helps a lot with keeping him stable. However, when he is frustrated he has a terrible temper, he doesn't try to hurt me but he screams obscenities at me and often slams doors on my home or my car, depending on where he is when he gets upset. What would you recommend that I can do to help him? I was just watching Dr Phil and he mentioned the PNP Center. Do you think that might be an option? Also, does Tri-Care cover this type of treatment?

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. Your son has clearly gotten through a lot of life situations by now, but still hasn't learned how to integrate the societal rules for how to behave when he's upset.

And with AS, this is the approach that is really required: as "regular" people, we self regulate when we're upset. We evaluate our emotions directly, and regulate the level of distress and emotional needs to meet the distress. With AS, that emotional regulation doesn't happen the same way. It has to happen through a cognitive function because his relationship with his emotionality is so primitive and developmentally just not there. Thus, he has to treat his distress and being upset by utilizing rules and patterns he learns.

The problem with AS is that when he doesn't learn a rule or buys in to a rule that "regular" people need him to, such as not yelling or being aggressive, but instead he creates his own rules of acceptable behavior, it's even harder to change this. And that's what you're confronting.

I work with Aspergers teens and young adults in my private practice. I know how tough and frustrating it is to try to reeducate once they've gotten a pattern of behavior implanted in them. But it's the only effective psychological treatment I've found: to try to create a win-win situation for them, to get them to buy in to new behavior patterns.

I have parents of the young adults I work with read a certain book even though it's about kids primarily. The book is Parenting Your Aspergers Child by Sohn and Grayson. Here is the Amazon web page for it:

I do this to get the parents oriented toward this rule/reorientation way of thinking about AS and their older child's behavior. I think you will find some of the ways of working with him using their principles will be very helpful. And you may want to see if the psychologist treating your son can work with you and together implement this approach to get him to alter his life rules to regulate aggressive behavior when in distress.

Dr. Lawlis and his PNP Center uses this type of treatment. Neuroplasticity itself refers to reorienting the brain's responses. So, yes, this would be a good contact. Now, they specialize in assessment and evaluations. I'm not sure that's what you need and I don't know if they will work with your son without you paying for those evaluative services. I know that they accept a lot of insurances but I can't address whether Tri Care is one of them. They can tell you. Their phone number is(###) ###-#### I know from people who've used their services and similar ones that insurance companies often only cover partial costs. So discuss this up front.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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