Catastrophic thinking will be easy for you to recognize in your child. When you are stunned at how upset he is over a trivial event, you can be sure he is having catastrophic thoughts. As with many of the thinking errors of Asperger’s Disorder, logic and reasoning do not seem to help him calm down. Telling him, “It is not that bad” only works to make him more intent on showing you just how horrible it really is.
Regardless of how minor a situation seems to you, realize that for your child it is a big deal. Rather than persuading him it is not “that bad,” encourage him to express his thoughts and feelings: “I see you are upset that Sean looked at your toy. What did you want to have happen?” Then provide empathy and ask him what can be done now: “I know it disappointing to have your surprise ruined. What can we do now?” Don’t be surprised if he tells you that “nothing!” can be done. He won’t like your suggestion, but at least you are planting seeds for him to learn how to soothe himself and put the upset in perspective. Then you will have to give him room to have his upset and recover in his own time.