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6 year old DS now saying he wants to die

(15 Posts)
Levantine Thu 07-Feb-13 09:51:09

I have posted already about my DS poss autism diagnosis. He has said a few times in the last few months that he wants to die and I had clocked it but wasn't sure to what extent he understood what he was saying.

Yesterday he had a complete meltdown, trying to run out of the house so he could die in the street, attempting to strangle himslef with his hands. WWhen he calmed down he told me how sad he was. I gave him a long list of specific things that are wonderful about him and have sent him to school with a note in his bag saying how much I love him and a little biro heart on his hand to touch if he feels sad.

I am so upset. I take him really seriously, if he is sad, I absolutely believe him. I think he is realising that there is something 'different' about him.

We had a chat the other day about how he seems to be only able to write wehn he is on his own. He said it makes him feel lonely but when he is with other children their voices make him scribble.

His meltdown last night was triggered when he asked me how good his handwriting was, after a while it was clear he wanted me to say what age it was lke, and so I said 6 1/2 - he got hysterical because he wanted me to say it was like a 9 year olds. Which it isnt. Perhaps I should have just said it was confused.

Other than asking the school to give as much positive reinforcement as possible, what else can I do?

I think also, seeing the paediatrician last week unsettled him and I am unsure how to explain all the future appointments to him. I told him that the doctor was going to try to help him with his concentration. Maybe I did the wrong thing

Apologies for long post

Levantine Thu 07-Feb-13 10:33:01

I am also a bit concerned about actually keeping him safe sad

PolterGoose Thu 07-Feb-13 10:47:25

Poor little chap sad and so hard for you too thanks

I don't have any experience of such strong feelings, my ds's anxiety tends to exhibit as rage, but am sure someone who has will be along soon.

I do remember the early stages of assessment though, my ds was 6 too. On one occasion I mentioned how someone we were off to see might be able to help with some specific things (that I can't remember now) and he was really upset and said he didn't want them to make him change as he wouldn't be him "But, that is what makes me me" it was awful.

Another thing, my ds is 9 now and has a dx of Aspergers, he really struggles with praise but responds well to very specific praise, eg "I do like how you have formed that letter" and explain why, or "Your O's are very round, much better than mine" rather than a broad comment, if that makes sense?

WilsonFrickett Thu 07-Feb-13 10:51:51

((hugs)) What a sad post, my heart goes out to you both. Firstly I think the biro heart is a fantastic idea, and of course lots of positive reinforcement at home will help too.

One of the most useful things I heard (here) was to think of a child with/potentially with ASD as being 2/3 of their chronological age emotionally. So if your DS is 6, think of him as a 4 yo. Would that change the way you speak to him or the way you explain things to him? My DS is 7 and dx'd but I still keep it very high level when we go to see someone - SALT is 'the talking lady' for example.

What's happening at school, is he getting any support? I think that needs to happen and soon, even without a diagnosis, (also from a safety point of view which of course you are worried about). I have no experience of CAMHS but hopefully someone will be along in a minute who does. Is something going badly at school or is he just overwhelmed?

In terms of the meltdown, it probably wasn't about what you said, it was about something else that had happened earlier. I think as an interim measure you need to get high locks put on your doors if he's going to bolt like that. Do the practical stuff you can to keep him safe first, the emotional stuff will take longer.

Poor you, I can tell you're very upset. I don't have much concrete advice but didn't want to read and run.

Levantine Thu 07-Feb-13 11:27:01

Thank you both. I just feel so awful for him and so helpless

Levantine Thu 07-Feb-13 11:29:43

Wilson he is very articulate and very aware of his emotions but perhaps I am expecting too much of him and need to keep it much much simpler. It is so hard to be objective about him! I will certainly take that on board and try it for a while

Poltergoose specific praise is a very good idea, I think he would definitely respond to that

As far as I know nothing in particular has happened in school, so I do think it's linked to us seeing the doctor last week

Any ideas on how I should explain our next appointment and the SALT one we have coming up?

WilsonFrickett Thu 07-Feb-13 12:28:47

IF he does have ASD then it's likely that he can have a seem very articulate about things like emotions without that sort of social underpinning we have. So he can recognise a sad face as being sad and find that word, but still not really be able to get a grip on what sad is? (Does that make sense to you? I'm trying really hard not to generalise because you don't have a dx and it is a spectrum - every child is different.)

So for example, DS (completely accidentally) headbutted me the other day, it really hurt and I was crying. He said 'sorry' because he's been taught to say sorry, but then he went on with what he was doing - there was no follow up, because he hadn't yet been taught that there needs to be. He wouldn't recognise that me being upset = an emotional response from him.

SALT I would say 'we're going to see a lady (not sexist, it's always a lady!) who knows a lot about talking, she'll probably ask you to do some things and play some games and then we'll go for <insert name of treat>.

Pead maybe something like 'we're going to see a person to find out more about how you are growing up and how brains works, it will be really interesting. S/he'll probably want to do games and ask you a few things'. Just explain what will happen, not what you're looking to get out of it.

Might also be worth taking someone with you to the pead who could take DS out if necessary - little pitchers have big ears and all that!

PolterGoose Thu 07-Feb-13 12:31:00

Something I've come to realise is that the emotion ds expresses, either verbally or through behaviour, is not necessarily what he is feeling. I think children on the spectrum do often have difficulties not just with recognising feelings in others, but also themselves, and in my experience, being high functioning and being very articulate doesn't actually make a child any more likely to be able to express their own emotions.

For the appointments, maybe a simple 'you know how you've been finding things difficult, and getting very sad, well we are going to see if we can find ways to help you... This person is an expert in this thing and they might be able to help with this difficulty'

I'm assuming he is on the HFA/AS bit of the spectrum. Kathy Hoopmann's books are good, ds loves them, we started with 'All Cats have Aspergers' then her children's novels 'Of Mice and Aliens' and 'The Blue Bottle Mystery' and her recent one 'Inside Aspergers Looking Out' is great once a child has a little understanding.

Also wondering, when you saw the doctor was ds there and did you have to do that awful discussing problems thing? Maybe ds has absorbed what was said and mate he needs extra positive reinforcements and effective praise and focussing on his qualities?

Another resource for worried children is Huebner's 'What to do when you worry too much' which is part of a series of books to work through with children using mainly CBT techniques.

Levantine Thu 07-Feb-13 13:01:15

Of course. Penny drops. We were being very careful to talk about all the good things about ds but he would have heard us discussing a lot of his difficult behaviours. That is what upset him, not the fact that we went there, or how I explained it. Poor poor ds. I might ask if he needs to attend the next appointment.

Good idea though Wilson, I don't think it would occur to him to ask questions about why we were going there particularly. Thank you so much for those book recommendations Poltergoose

We have no support. Zilch, nada, nothing, no helpful family nearby, or even any emotional support for us really, which I find particularly difficult.

Any idea on how long it will take to get a diagnosis? The paed is going to refer for further diagnosis after her initial assessment - for which we still have another appointment

PolterGoose Thu 07-Feb-13 13:11:13

Ours took over a year from initial referral by GP to actual formal dx. However, once we had seen OT we had some really good insight and lots of practical stuff to do which had, and continues to have, a big impact.

We had no support either, and TBH, it was me that did everything. So wish I had found MNSN back then. I am so glad though that my conviction that ds had AS meant I started using techniques for children on the spectrum before dx, it was recognised by the paed that what I'd been doing was clearly having a positive effect, so, do read up and do use the techniques, many are great for NT children anyway so you can't do any harm!

WilsonFrickett Thu 07-Feb-13 13:24:16

We were 18 months. It can often take longer for HFA or AS because it's not always obvious. As Polter says, read up on techniques and strategies and start implementing them, they can't hurt. School may tell you they need a dx to do anything but they don't so I'd get into see them soon.

Levantine Thu 07-Feb-13 13:26:32

Thank you. If you were to recommend one book to start with, which would it be?

Thankfully ds's school is wonderful, very supportive. He already does some small group work on listening and social skills with their lovely senco

PolterGoose Thu 07-Feb-13 13:29:23

That's fab that school are working with him.

I found Tony Attwood's books best to begin with, they explain so much, and also helped me to articulate ds's needs better when speaking to professionals.

bishybashyboshy Thu 07-Feb-13 13:38:27

Thats really sad to hear sad, my son had a particularly bad year a while back and when everything had been sorted he lay next to me one night and told me that he didn't want to kill himself anymore sad we could see that he was struggling but not to that point, it was quite heart stopping to hear really. We had a time after that when we were trying to encourage him to ride his bike (something he had expressed an interest in but was also struggling with) and he got really upset with himself looked over a bridge and under his breath muttered that he just wanted to throw himself off and kill himself sad..reason being that he thought we were cross with him confused our raising our voices to encourage him on his bike made him think we were cross which then made him think we didn't love him anymore. sad

Levantine Thu 07-Feb-13 14:08:46

Thanks Polter have just ordered a couple of Attwoods.

bishy very sorry to hear you have had similair experiences

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