Alone Time for Teens with Aspergers is Crucial: Allow Them Their Space

Breathing room or ‘alone time’ is good for anyone, but for someone on the spectrum it is crucial. When Sam was very young I found myself, as his mother, wanting to arrange play dates with other children who were not exactly knocking on our door for playtime. My reasoning was he must be lonely, so I did everything in my power to elicit playmates. Offering the best snacks, coolest toys, or excursions to area attractions, but it didn’t take long before no one came around.

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My son was alone.

What I’ve come to realize is that this is alright with Sam. He really prefers time alone verses a party. Really. It was me who was projecting my ideas of companionship on him, a neuro-typical brain trying to outguess his autistic brain.

Fast forward 10 or so years and his contentment with an occasional relationship is greatly satisfying for him, and he does have a few. His time alone, however, is a structured necessity for him that keeps him grounded and on-task for the really important things such as work or school.

So as parents we should relax just a bit. Although socialization, to a degree, is important, allow your Aspergers child to be their own person. Time to read, explore, invent, create or yes, on-line gaming to a degree can all be good for someone with Aspergers Syndrome. Sam even found companionship via social media sites.

If I could look back at my earlier self I would say “Relax just a bit. He is not as uncomfortable not being invited to parties classmates give, it is only me who is uncomfortable with this”.

Look a bit closer at your Asperger child to understand just how far to push socialization at an early age. You might be going to great means only to satisfy yourself, when in reality a simple outing like a trip to a museum with you might more than suffice.

By Jennifer Allen

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Jennifer Allen

After an extensive career broadcast marketing, Jennifer and her husband searched for answers when their oldest son hit the kinder years with great difficultly. After finally learning that their oldest son had Aspergers Syndrome, she left her career in television and became a full time mother to both of her sons. Jennifer elicited the participation of her sons and together they produced several independent programs including a children’s animated series titled Ameriquest Kids (now distributed by Landmark Media) as well as her documentary and book titled, Coping to Excelling: Solutions for school-age children diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome. The need for more information encouraged Jennifer to elicit a team of autism experts to provide weekly, original content to a website free to anyone seeking to live their best under the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome… appropriately titled: Aspergers101.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “Alone Time for Teens with Aspergers is Crucial: Allow Them Their Space

    • My pleasure Arlie! Took me awhile to come to the conclusion but hopefully my experience could save others time and anxiety! Thank you for your comment.

  1. You are so right, in the fact that pleasing or making me feel a part of being in friends groups. It was not my son wanting to be a part of it at all. I spent years trying to get him to be a part a groups. and it was only me the was so stressed out. He is now 23 and about 3 yrs ago I gave up, and it has made him and me much happier.

    • Thank you for sharing your comment Gina! It also does me good to know others, in similar positions, who experience the same challenges and successes. My son Sam is also happier…hopefully this post will reach a Mom while her AS child is still young. Might save the Mom and definitely the child much anxiety.

  2. I personally do not have a child with Aspergers but do know of a few who do. This article alone helped me to better understand the effects of Aspergers . “Allow them their space” makes total sense to me now and will apply this to those who are affected. Thank You!

  3. Ultimately we are all individuals, one size does not fit all. As individuals our needs are all different . My wonderful 19 yr old son with ASD and ADHD defies most rules. He makes eye contact, he understands humour. He has struggled but managing in College and getting good grades. For him processing information and that information travelling from his head down his arm to his hand is painful and he hates writing because of the pain and also as his thoughts travel down his arm to his hand his thoughts get lost. He is moving on to a level 3 in Sport this September and despite asking so many times for a laptop he has been refused. I applied for an Education Health Care Plan for him this month and he will be having an assessment for IT equipment. He hopes to get a voice activated computer laptop. We will now see the wonderful knowledge he ha and he will be fully included in school. Avery happy young man and a proud mum.

  4. I think the most important comment you make is in 3rd paragraph, which is to encourage parents to relax. As parents our role is to provide the structure, values, and expectations that will support our children to find their path to a meaningful life, regardless of our own definition of success. We are unfortunately bombarded with so much (mis)information that suggest the critical components of fulfillment, forgetting to listen to our teenagers and figure it out together. After 40 years of working with children of all needs and backgrounds, including my own, I doubt if anyone has a neurotypical brain. And that is the beauty of our individuality, your message is a universal message for all parents! Thanks, R

    • Thank you for your comments and support Richard! 40 years of helping others is such a wonderful service…thank YOU!

  5. This applies to individuals with profound autism also. My daughter’s first
    activity after hugging good-bye after our Sunday outings in the group home is to retire into her fat comfy recliner chair in her room crosslegged with the magazines we just brought her for her weekly boost of magazines. not even dinner – she loves food – calls as much as quiet time looking at her magazines in her room in her private corner .

  6. I have to tell you, your experience means the world to me. My mom sent your blog to me in reference to an ongoing processing of the fact that my 13 year old daughter is happier not having friends over or being with peers. As a very social person, it has been a journey of observing the extreme effort she has to put forward to “entertain” vs the joy she finds in reading and learning and entertaining her passions. I find that I worry about her a lot. However, I am believing that she will find her people, especially as she moves out of adolescence. She interacts with people socially as it has been comfortable for her. Her teachers tell me she has friends at school who are typically brained and she does ask to participate in dances at times. Again, thank you for this reinforcement.

  7. I learn something new every time I read these articles now about my kids but myself as well. For instance after reading this article I now think that my youngest son is more on aspergers end of the spectrum that his two older brothers who are autistic. Jriel loves his time alone. He has friends but he is totally different from his brothers. I have never had him tested for this but I will so that I can learn to help my child even more and try to force unwanted ideas on him. I already know that has his own personality even his style of dress but with knowing I can help him and myself even more. Thank you for these articles they help parents like me who had to raise our kids with little or no info on autism and basically learned through trial and error with our kids. God bless and please keep informing the world about autism.