In a sensory integration therapy we learned that Asperger kids tear things apart because of sensory needs. The tearing, shredding, cutting , chopping, pounding, taking everything apart, is a form of stim and helps calm them. The therapist suggested all kinds of way to help them fill those needs without destroying good things.
My 16 and 21 yr old both used to destroy things without realizing what they were being destructive. When my 21 year old, was younger, she would sit on her bedroom floor for hours and pull threads out of her carpet until we had a lot of silver dollar bare spots in her floor. She had a beautiful, white, embroidered on white comforter. I didn’t realize until she had a forth of it pulled that she would lay in bed at night and pull the embroidery threads out of the comfort. We still have the comforter with a forth of it, plain with no embroidery.
This seemingly destruction, is not done with malicious intent. Punishing them will only make it worse. They may become more tense and either go inward or find other things to destroy. While explaining the reason why they can’t destroy property, replace the bad destruction with creative sensory outlets.
Find sensory toys like squishy balls, velcro to tear apart, play dough or the homemade kind, goup or again the homemade kind with corn starch. Give them a trash can and a stack of old newspapers to shred. You can use the shredded paper to make a paper mache’ pinata or something. My children would play outside in the sandbox for hours.
Another great sensory idea is to fill a bucket or big bowl (I used a large tupperware bowl) with several bags of rice, macaroni, etc and hide all kinds of things like buttons, thimbles, large bolts, screws, small toys (I used stuff from my junk drawer) and they will sit for hours finding “treasures” in the rice, macaroni, sand etc… Very therapeutic to squish the rice through their hands and it can help small motor coordination!
When my girls birth dad was young and we lived out in the country we’d give him a axe and let him split firewood. We might have a pile of “toothpicks” when he was done but he was much calmer after a splitting session, And if he’s mechanical, have a designated spot and get old appliances at Goodwill, or take folks castaways, (there’s always old computers around – and who knows, you may have a second Bill Gates on your hands. 🙂 Give him his own screwdriver, pliers and hammer. If his interest is car motors, find someone who has an old vehicle they’re ready to haul off to the junk yard and offer to take it off their hands. Put it in a spot in your back yard and let him “work” on it with a few tools.
My 21 yr old has replaced her sensory issues with her little laptop which I think she spends entirely too much time on. But it does tend to keep her calm.
What helps calm you down?