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Dd awaiting assessment for ASD, concerned about violent behaviour, feeling stuck.

(4 Posts)
ChiaraMetal Mon 21-Nov-16 11:43:38

Hi all. My little girl is 5, I started having concerns about her when she was 2, as her speech and language appeared to be behind for her age. She has subsequently started speech and language therapy, and has been identified as having expressive and receptive language delay. She also displays other behaviour, which led to her having an initial assessment to see if it was appropriate to seek an ASD diagnosis. She is sensitive to certain loud noises such as alarms and hand dryers. She also has meltdowns which at times are very difficult to control. In the last few months, her behaviour has gotten increasingly more violent during these meltdowns. She will hit, kick, pull hair, clothes, headbutt, and throw things. I always try to remain calm as I have learnt that getting wound up myself just makes it worse. Just to try and give an example, yesterday, I was helping her to write, she has difficulties with picking a dominant hand, though it seems to me that she is better writing with her left hand, as her letters are in the mirror image if she writes with her right hand, and the correct way if she writes with her left. Anyway, I was getting her to practice writing some words, and as she realised she was about to write over another of her words, she threw her pen on the floor. I suggested that maybe it was time to have a rest, and then she threw herself on the floor, hard, and started screaming. This upset her baby brother, and she seemed encouraged to continue, so I asked her to take time out. All of a sudden, she picks up a fairly large toy fire engine and hurls it at me. Her dad intervened at this point and suggested she should go to bed, but this made her want to go sit herself in time out. That did make her calm down eventually. Whenever she calms down, we ask her why she got angry, she always says 'I don't know'. For some reason she kept saying that she 'lost mummy' as well yesterday.
I think a lot of the anger comes from her lack of understanding, but I'm at a loss for knowing how to cope with it. I'm really frustrated with the services in my area at the moment. Dd doesn't get many speech therapy sessions because there has been staffing shortages and so on. It is so bad that she has to go on a waiting list for each appointment. She will now not be seen again until March! As for ASD diagnosis, dd is something ridiculous like 246th on the waiting list, so I'm prepared for the possibility that it's going to be years before we get anywhere. I have been advised to contact the paediatrician we saw and ask if there's any hope of moving things along any quicker, but I'm not sure if they think our situation will warrant this.
My main concern is that someone will get really hurt as this behaviour worsens, especially my 17 month old, as dd does not care who is around when she loses it. At the time, ds was very close to where dd threw the fire engine. Dd can be very rough when she's playing with him and has to be constantly reminded to be gentle. She does love him as she will give him lots of kisses and cuddles and make him laugh at other times, she's just not realising that her pushing him and things is not appropriate.
I'm wondering if anyone here has been in a similar situation? If anyone has any ideas for calming techniques or anything like that, I would be very grateful. Thanks, from one frustrated mama!

Manumission Mon 21-Nov-16 11:49:48

It sounds as though the frustration had already built beyond tipping point by the time the dam burst. ASC meltdowns seem to work like that - huge waves that build very quickly.

Would helping her find ways of talking about how the feelings are for her help, do you think? And maybe strategies like "help" cards and stress balls? So that she has strategies or vocabulary to indicate to you when she begins to feel out of control, rather than waiting for you or another adult can spot the signs (often already at the runaway train stage by then).

I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well.

knittingwithnettles Mon 21-Nov-16 14:44:45

I would be looking at what is triggering the violence.

Maybe just ditch the handwriting sessions??? Some children with ASD will have motor skills issues, which makes them find writing at this early age, and I say that advisedly...it is a very British thing to expect children at this age to actually write... very very frustrating.

Better use of motor skills time would be to a) dress doll (ie small Barbie type), practice swimming (strengthens shoulders), Hama beads, beads in general, sand paper letters, playdough, modelling, painting with paintbrush.

Out of Synch Child is a good book as is its companion Out of Synch Child has Fun..full of strategies that you can use at home before seeing a Paediatrician or OT, and which will be useful whether or not you get a diagnosis.

Children cannot usually express what makes them angry, they often reduce it to something much simpler than it is, a feeling of general frustration might be tipped by a tiny thing like wrong colour cup or a scratchy top.

Google "sensory diet" (which is not to do with food) to find some more ways lessen child's frustration.

knittingwithnettles Mon 21-Nov-16 14:50:15

Also, the most obvious thing to ask is, what is her behaviour like in school? If it is very good, perhaps she is exhausted when she gets home. It isn't your parenting at fault, even if she is "fine" in school.

Then again, being used to school routine, she might find weekends hard because she is transitioning out of school..in which case you might think school is where she is happier..whereas it might be the school week which makes the weekends so draining for her. [disclaimer..my son went half day in Reception - it made for a much calmer life at home]

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