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I was wondering if anyone else has experience with this type of situation. It's something that's been with my son for a while and he hasn't made much progress with it.

My son with ASD has a real hard time in competitive situations. Whether it's games with family or sports at school. Simply, when he loses, or gets out, or something in a game goes against him, he screams, has a fit, sometimes cries, and sometimes punches things. At home, it can make games with him difficult, but we deal with it. At school it really makes thing difficult for him. Games have to be stopped until he settles down. Or he is asked to leave games. Sometimes other kids will mock him or mimic him, making the situation worse.

It seems to me like the problem is his expectation going into these games. He envisions himself winning and gets excited about that outcome. Then when things don't go his way his way he gets frustrated and the emotions grow out of control from there. I'm sure his own competitive personality is a big factor and this isn't just an autism thing. But it's funny, he doesn't really care how he wins, or whether he earns a victory. In some games he'll ask me to let him win and it won't feel like any less of a victory to him. In his mind he just wants to envision himself as the winner.

Anyone else have any experience with something like this? My son really likes competing and being in these types of games. At home we do have a lot of co op games that we play. But it's hard to avoid competition altogether. Especially since he really does enjoy it, as long as it ends in his favor. I'd rather he learn to work through it. But I don't know what my expectation should be. How much of that can he control?

If anyone has input or an experience to share that would be appreciated.


mikecagain 7 Sep 8
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My son had some similar issues, over time, as he matured, became better with expressing with language and learning how to identify and manage his own feelings, he did get better. at 26, he understand that you can do your best, be absolutely perfect, and still not win. that is life. took a lot of patience and letting him have fits, of course there were boundaries with consequences, if he hit someone, broke his things, or others people's things, even hurting himself. being angry and frustrated are not bad things to experience, i believe it just important to learn how to manage them and use that energy to learn and move forward with the things we can do well at. i am amused when he attempts to pass his wisdom down to younger people that are struggling, as well as being proud that he has matured and grown to be a fine young man. this is what i tell folks, autism is a moving spectrum, i had to learn and adjust before there was a proper way of diagnosing or addressing's not easy trying to help them find their way.

Arttoa Level 5 Oct 3, 2018

Thanks for the input. It's encouraging to hear that your son has been able to mature beyond those early struggles. One of the things that I try to explain to my son is that it is ok to have these emotions, but he needs to be able to control how he responds to them, which of course is the difficult part. It's a long road.


%Yes. My son was always just like that. It got so that we would not play any more. We'd take him to mini golf, and just let him play. He was like that pretty much all through childhood. He's slightly better now at 20 though. But even in school, he felt he had to get all A's, 100 %, top grades, first chair orchestra, etc.. Swimming was a good sport for him because it was about beating his own best time. He was and still is prone to self injure when he feels he doesn't live up to his own very high expectations. The problem is this: They don't see grey. It's only black, or white. Best, or worst. There's no in between. So if they are not the very best (winner) then they are the "very worst" in their minds. It's a rigid thought pattern. Social stories and video modeling can sometimes help.

AgnoLulu Level 6 Sep 20, 2018

Good post. Thanks for sharing.


My 4yo on the spectrum is very competitive. But he goes to a clinic type place for preschool and therapy so it's not a problem. Yet. But I could see it becoming something difficult.

towkneed Level 7 Sep 8, 2018

As long as my son is around people who understand what he is going through, I'm not too worried. But that won't always be the case. On the playground at school for instance, not everyone understands why he is reacting the way he does. Sometime it turns kids off and makes them not want to play with him. Sometimes kids think it's funny and they try to antogonize him.


I think it's a skill that can be learned over time, depending on the child. My kid does ok - he does a lot of online gaming and obviously spends a lot of time losing. But my child can't function in school in general so I homeschool him. All kids are different.

Hihi Level 6 Sep 8, 2018

Thanks. Yep, every child is different, and autism affects everyone differently. I'm hoping he can eventually work his way through this. It just doesn't seem like he's made much progress yet.


My youngest son always throws a fit when things don't go his way. If you interfere he goes violent. They say that might be autism. He is 4 getting more help.

Yea, once the emotions are out of control, anything you say or do just makes it worse. I've heard that redirecting is the best way to handle those situations. Basically, take the focus off of the thing that is causing the frustration and move them on to something else. Or I've found, as I'm sure you have as well, giving them a few minutes alone to get their emotions in control usually helps. Good luck kwith your son.


I have a daughter with autism, this has nothing to do with her. I am extremely competitive and when I was growing up I had the similar problems, I hated to lose. I eventually found sports like cross-country running, cross-country skiing, where I was competing against myself worked out better.

Thanks. I do try to stear him away from overly competitive situations. But it does seem hard to avoid it altogether. At least at this age. Especially on the playground where that's what other kids are doing. As he gets older he may find those other activities more enjoyable.

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