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Autism - shut down

(13 Posts)
Imaginosity Fri 27-May-16 15:37:08

DS - age 6 - has high functioning autism. A lot of the time he is very engaged. Sometimes it's like he shuts down and seems very far away. When he's like that it's like he's on another planet and doesn't seem to hear you calling his name. He's a completely different person when he's engaged and lively.

Is this something that will always happen to him? It's a problem if he's with other people and kind of needs to make some bit of an effort to engage.

I can't really identify when he does it. It's less likely to happen when he's just with my, DH and DS2.

In mentioned it to an OT who he's due to see soon and he said DS will be doing the Alert Program and this might help with the shutdowns.

PolterGoose Fri 27-May-16 15:53:48

Like meltdowns and bolting, it's an anxiety response, part of the protective fight, flight or freeze response to stress. It's a sign he's struggling. Helping him recognise early signs of being overwhelmed and helping him find ways to decompress can help. But it'll take time and you need to support him to do this until he can do it for himself.

My ds was 9, nearly 10, when he did Alert and it was fantastic. But I don't think he'd have been ready for it any sooner.

youarenotkiddingme Fri 27-May-16 16:19:02

My DS has just down the alert programme as he does exactly the same thing.

It was a great programme and encouraged them to work out for themselves if they were too high or low and what helped them feel just right.

reader108 Fri 27-May-16 22:30:46

My ds has totally shut down on several occasions stops talking; unheard of behaviour, it's like he becomes overloaded. You have to 'sort of' drag him back to the real world long hugs, singing same song over and over, x tables all return him eventually. He can't remember afterwards, and is exhausted for ages after the event. he wet himself once was 6 years old had been toilet trained since 2 just isn't there at tall! Happens less frequently last couple of years now 10 although had one at his new school last month they phoned and said he hadn't spoken since noon it was now 2pm!!!! They thought he was upset due to an event that had taken place he was took me 5 minutes to get him to respond. Used to really scare me that one day he wouldn't come back

frazzledmumma Sat 28-May-16 01:44:14

We get the Shut down but have realised a pattern, straight after nursery he needs 30 mins to decompress alone. Also he shuts down around people he's not comfottable with. Loses eye contact etc. It used to alarm me but now i recognise its his coping strategy. And I'm guilty of the same at times if I've got a lot on so I totally get it. I'm still 'there' but choosing to check out of engaging.

zzzzz Sat 28-May-16 08:56:50

I think it's important to be mindful of absence seizure which is not rare and seizures in general are often part of a range of things that are more likely in the ASD community.

PolterGoose Sat 28-May-16 12:55:01

That's a really important point zzzzz ans definitely something to remember.

PolterGoose Sat 28-May-16 12:55:16

^and not ans

reader108 Sat 28-May-16 21:23:55

Used to work with Children who had major and absent seizures never thought of it for my boy. However never thought about ASD either! He only ever 'shuts down' during high stress situations surely would happen during relaxed times too? He did once say he couldn't see me during a haircut (a very stressful time for him)lasted 4 or 5 minutes said he could only see purple things. Took him outside head down thought he was going to faint, but didn't. After 4 or 5 minutes he said 'there you are how did we get outside'! He was very pale top lip a little blue slept for 50 minutes in the car on the way home. Feel pretty stupid now even to me sounds like more then overload

youarenotkiddingme Sat 28-May-16 23:11:23

Excellent point zzzzz

My DS was tested for seizures as he would see room go out of shape, be absent, tic or spasm. (Still does!) but luckily no epileptic activity was found so we could rule it out and out it down to sensory stuff.

zzzzz Sat 28-May-16 23:15:24

IF he has been having seizures (and it is only an IF) then you may find medication MASSIVELY improves things for him.

Imaginosity Sun 29-May-16 10:15:15

I think for my DS it is not absence seizures as he never has them when he's somewhere he feels comfortable or doing something like Lego that he enjoys

zzzzz Sun 29-May-16 15:42:04

I'm not for a moment saying it IS absence, but you are far less likely to have a seizure when you are not anxious.

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