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3 year old Autistic Son, please advise me as I have no idea

(7 Posts)
AudiR8 Mon 06-Jul-15 22:56:15

My 3 year old Son has High Functioning Autism, he socially interacts with adults but only for a couple of minutes before wanting to be by himself again, he doesn't interact with children at all.

It's hard because when we are at other people's houses all he wants to do is play with the TV remote, press buttons on a computer or play with a mobile phone. He would sit there doing this all day and you cannot coax him to try and play with you because he screams and hits because he doesn't want to.

This is creating a huge problem at home, I try to limit the time that he plays with the TV remote but this isn't going well at all, I tell him that he can have 5 more minutes and then I will take it off him and we can read a book. After doing this he will continuously scream (it is very high pitched and hurts my ears because he is so loud) and he will hit me and his 1 year old brother. He threw the book across the room and hit me, I've tried ignoring him but he follows me screaming and crying all the time that he hasn't got it, he tried to push his brother off the sofa but luckily I caught him doing this. I put him in time out but again all he does is scream whilst he is in there and after I take him out of his chair.

I have a massive dilemma, he is happiest in his own world, not interacting with me or his brother and just staring at the TV with the remote or on his tablet that he has got. I try to interact but he is not interested so I'm not sure whether limiting his time is the right thing to do, do I allow him to not interact and know that he is happy doing what I have mentioned above? Or do I need to limit everything because that is literally what he wants to do all day and ignore his meltdowns?

I'm at a loss about this sad any advice would be really appriciated.

Frusso Tue 07-Jul-15 13:37:10

Try and use his interests as rewards and motivators. If you read this book with me you can have your tablet for 10 minutes. If you play this game with us you can press some buttons.

It will be hard work limiting his access, set a basic limit on what he can have irrespective of behaviour, (even if he is a complete nightmare he has to still have a basic allowance) and then he can earn more by doing what you want/need him to do. But don't make it too hard for him to achieve it to start with, he needs to be able to see it as an achievable outcome.

MrsBobDylan Tue 07-Jul-15 22:34:11

When my DS was 3 he used to watch Toy Story 2 over and over again. I worried myself into the ground about it but as he got older, I realised DS needed lots of time to switch off as it helped him cope with the world.

I used to physically take him out of the house, to the park, to buy sweets, anywhere really, just to give him a short break from Toy Story.

But ultimately, I've learnt that ds' will always have an obsession on the go and will always prefer to do his own thing.

That probably doesn't cheer you up but I've learnt to accept him and his obsessions and it's helped build a much happier life for him and me.

DS is at a sn school now and absolutely loves it. He comes home and plays obsessively on his iPad but then I tempt him out into the garden by putting the bubble machine on and laying out the inflatable jousting sticks which he and his brothers love!

Don't despair-as your son gets older his interests will change and so will his obsessions. My advice would be to roll with it where you can and just try to tempt him into other pursuits gently.

2boysnamedR Wed 08-Jul-15 09:26:55

Are you getting advise via portage, early years or nursery?

Have you tried a egg timer? A visual promptso that he see when his time will up with lots of warning?

Have you tried a now and next card? "You can do this but next its garden time?"

My three year old is non verbal non compliant. I don't try to stop him doing what he wants. What I do is little snippets frequently of doing things on my terms. So reading a book for a few minutes, high interest bag, garden time throughout the day. In between he's off on his own agenda.

It's not ideal but I have come to the conclusion ds doesn't like being made to do anything so I can't force him. I don't have energy to make him interact and comply but doing smaller chunks he is coming round a bit more. He hasn't got any obsessions (yet) so he's always flitting all over the place which I guess is easier.

I wonder if the visual question would help your ds not feel so stressed?

AYearofMinorMiracles Wed 08-Jul-15 11:16:30

Does he actually have a concept of time? Mine, at 13 and 11 have only just sort of got it and it is still not that accurate. So, a countdown won't work and mightn't anyway if it adds to stress.
As that isn't very helpful blush, will he let you sit with him as he plays and interact anyway?
Do visual timetables help? They give structure as well as supporting language and that can help reduce anxiety.
Then, of course, use the ipad - it has loads of wonderful aps - educational and fun! DS2's school still uses it to reinforce good behaviour and an escape from life - it seems to act as a barrier and helps reduce stress whilst attracting other kids, who watch and interact.
Other activities that have worked over the years have been trampolining, swimming, park, soft play, bowling. My biggest turning point was realising that 1-2-1 worked and groups didn't.

AntiquityIsDotDotDot Thu 09-Jul-15 02:18:38

I let my 3 year old with autism do much as he wants really. He has learnt loads from television! It's easy for him to learn from, lots of simple words, repetition and without the stress of interaction. Same with the tablet, he's at the point of teaching himself to read now! And I'm positive Alphablocks and phonics apps have been responsible for his vast leap in speech this year. And I feel happy feeding his mind because it's so difficult for it to happen when social interaction is also involved.

I also use things he loves as a stepping off point for interactive things. Like buying the Cbeebies mags of the shows he loves the best and we do stickers together, which used to mostly involve him stacking them on top of each other, but it was a thing we did together. Mine loves numbers so just counting alongside helps. It's unfair but you have to get really creative in some ways and give up a lot of aspects of mainstream parenting. Accepting your child won't respond typically is quite freeing to be able to try other things.

I agree with others that five minutes is too long. With ds we do a one more minute warning, then about 20 seconds later (because a minute is too long) we tell him it's time then we wait a bit and then he does the thing. But I wouldn't swap something he loves doing for something I think he should want to do, even if it's something he likes! Other than I do make sure he gets out of the house every day.

I guess how I look at it is that it's massively miserable to be miserable all the time and I don't want that for my son. I want him to be happy, so in between all the necessary misery for him then he can do things he likes and be happy and relaxed and secure.

It's really a different world and things parents of typical children would be shock at are just ways to bring up happy and secure and not constantly stressed children with autism. But it's not what we imagined we'd be doing as parents, no.

Burmesemum Fri 10-Jul-15 11:10:46

Hi there my 11 year old son has HF autism and it was hell at that age.

He would not socialise with children at all and would act aggressively if they disturbed him. I was trapped in my home and could not take him anywhere as he was a runner and screamer and that's all he seemed to do.

Days out were impossible. Even trips to the supermarket etc one of us would have to stay with him in the car as we couldn't all go as a family. He was completely obsessive about the TV and would watch the same TV programme over and over again.

Now he is the most affectionate and sociable child you could ever meet. He loves other children and is a very popular member of his mainstream primary school. They love his quirky sense of humour.

He still has obsessions, computer games particularly but also with writing stories and drawing. He is a prolific story writer and excels at this in school. This is a child who didn't make a mark on a piece of paper until he was nearly 5.

He didn't talk until nearly 5 and then within 6 months caught up completely with his peers in fact his expressive speech was and still is above average. He is in top groups in most of his subjects at school too.

Not boasting (well maybe a little) but just to show you how much progress they can make.

Like others have said visual prompts may help, possibly a wall chart showing when he can play with the remote and what he will be doing next and so on. Rewards for good behaviour also worked very well with my son too.

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