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Gaming meltdown

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Hi all - just joined and already value reading your stories and would love your advice.

We have a 13 yo boy who has some characteristics that would seem to suggest Asperger traits - obsessions, struggle with close friendships at school, hates change, lacks some empathy - but otherwise seems to be coping better with life than most teenagers. We have only realised possible ASD in the last few months since he hit his teens so it's very early days and while he is coping OK we are keeping our thoughts to ourselves.

His current obsession is x-box gaming (fortnite of course - but issue is true of all human vs human battele games) and with usual mutual frustations we have agreed time limits for playing and separately watching youtube videos. I'd say he's a better than the average player but he really struggles with losing which is most of the time by the nature of the game - it can never be just one of those things/bad luck/better player, its always someone cheating, error in the game, internet lagging, etc. At first (January) it was shouting and moderate swearing which we worked on, but more and more he is crying and screaming with rage/unhappiness. He broke an old laptop so was warned that next time something gets broken that would be the end of it. If he plays say 15 games/day unless he gets a win early on his moderate anger will ramp up and so will his reaction to failing to win. He can't be persuaded to take a break so launches straight back in and unsurprisingly he's even less likely to win because he is so angry and under more self pressure. He will then scream at my wife and I and shut us out. We do our best to sit with him and reassure him but we struggle with what to say/do until time's up and after 15mins he can calm himself down and be more rational.

I've read many of your stories of undesirable activities/noises that can create meltdowns but what is best when that is associated with his biggest love/obsession?

My natural desire is to protect him by removing the game/x-box but if he is on the aspergers scale is this best or should we just accept this is part of his life? He's aware of the stress and hate of losing but the buzz of winning maybe 1 in 25 games or the need to be the best overrides the negatives in his eyes. I can't think it good to have this love-hate-self-lothing association building up.

Should we stop him playing to protect him or should we just pur our fingers in our ears and let him get on with it? In our weekend quiz he said his biggest fear is failure so things are begining to fit but we are desparate for some pointers for coping with this specific challenge...

Thanks for reading.

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My son is diagnosed he's 24 he loves Xbox but hates to loose and reacts just like your son.He plays online and is always ranting people are cheating, its not faire he gets in a right strop.Its hard to just not get involved and leave them to it but we try.I found it's best not even to casually enquire as to what's wrong it just fuels his rant.We ignore him let him rant it tends to blow over.When he's calm again we find its best not to bring up the subject it can set him off again.

We didn't get the diagnosis till our son was 20 but we knew and he had attended a special school with a statement. I suggest you speak to your go say you want him accessing it took 12 months on a waiting list in our area to see the physiologist then a further 6 for the assessment.

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First and foremost we feel others emotions too intensely to cope, that doesn't mean we lack empathy. I've watched TV programs to help me learn empathy and discussed it with people who can explain in 'black and white' ways 'the other side of the coin'.

He might feel like the only thing he's good at is the game. He could know the game very well and be able to tell if there's an internet problem or people cheating. We are rule orientated so if someone does something out the ordinary it can look like cheating.

I've been a game quizzer for over 4 years with 2 friends. At first I was stroppy with some of my friends, them giving me time to reflect and my home situation improving meant I was less likely to be stroppy with them. I used to get really wound up when we didn't get any prizes. Then my teammates reminded me of other ways we could consider success, eg our score each time going up, the questions not being the ones we we're experienced in etc.

Would giving him specific praise help? Have a motto 'no problem too big, no achievement to small' in th household and strive to resolve it no matter what. Remind him of it when he brings up failure.

Perfectionism is a difficult trait to resolve in us autistics.

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