To ask how to deal with this ASD related issue?(18 Posts)
I know this should technically be posted in special needs but I could do with the traffic here as I know there are lots of experienced parents of children with ADD here.
DD is 4 and under assessment for ASD. She doesn't particularly 'play', she likes to arrange her toys and then leave them and doesn't want anyone to disrupt them. She will arrange her dolls house and then be hysterical if one of her siblings enters the room in case they move anything. Obviously it can't stay untouched forever so I offer to take a photo so she can remember the arrangement. This sometimes works. She will receive toys for birthdays/Christmases/her pocket money but hoard them in her bed in case anyone disrupts them.
She has to share a bedroom with her 3 year old sibling which makes things very difficult. Has anyone experienced similar behaviour? Any advice would be much appreciated.
You'll probably get mixed opinions on this but imo you need to get your child used to the fact that if things are left out they will get kicked/knocked over etc. In school/nursery this is going to happen all day long and unfortunately all the more by some children if they see your dd is distressed by it.
I tackled it in a number of ways. Games that involved me and ds disturbing things eg building towers and knocking them down. I would also reward him if he remained calm when a friend or sibling disturbed his stuff. With asd it can be a lack of problem solving as well. All they can see is that their stuff is ruined and may not be able to see that it can be easily fixed. If they can remain calm you can start to have conversations about different ways to fix the problem.
We also found having a pet helped as they constantly ruin the kids creations and it's easy to explain that they don't mean to.
I let my son have an area where he can keep his lego creations and we all agree nobody is to touch them there. He knows the rest of the house is not a safe place to leave them as they could be in danger of being cleaned up. I think its important he has a little place to store what's precious to him. My son is 8 and has ASD.
My dd is 4 and has autism and is like this. Very particular and everything has its place. We just to gradually expose her to things being messed up or not quite right as she has two siblings, one has asd so trying to getting her use to things not being in there place.
It's hard with a 4 year old but if they're hoarding stuff in the way, then it's good to get them used to the idea that if they don't put them away, out of the way, you will have to put them away, yourself, and you might not choose the same place for "away" as them.
I they're on their own bed, then just help them to arrange them at the foot of the bed, out of the way, whenever you need to make the bed, and to make sure none will be squashed at night.
The photo is a good plan because that takes some of the anxiety away.
I was a bit like this when I was young due to my younger sister having absolutely no respect for me or my things and my parents doing nothing to support me in this. It still riles me to think about it now. (Sister is now a diagnosed narc and we are 'no contact'. I'm NT as far as I'm aware.) Just saying in case it's useful.
I wish it was Lego as that'd be more manageable. Tonight, for example, she made a home for her teddy that involves a blanket over pillows and it takes up the middle of the room. Her siblings understand her and don't disrupt her arrangements but it isn't particularly stable and so is bound to fall down in the morning and then she'll be inconsolable.
I'm an aspie and clearly remember the trauma of siblings wrecking havoc on my life (destroying carefully constructed lego creations or drawings, especially)
I'd give her a space in the house, however small, that is entirely hers. Even a small corner somewhere that her siblings aren't allowed near.
How about you create a no touch zone that is a reasonable size but say the rule is that only things in the no touch zone don't get touched. You could then add other rules as necessary e.g. tidy day is on Saturday and we take a picture before things get tidied. Remind her nightly for a few days before and try to keep to the routine?
To go against the grain I'm not a fan of the 'no touch zone' idea. I tried it with my son and when something did get touched there (which it inevitably will if there are other kids in the house that aren't yours) then he would be doubly upset as not only were his things disturbed but it was completely unexpected and against the rules. I think if something isn't to be touched it needs to be put in a completely inaccessible place.
I know some nurseries/schools have areas to put made models that can't be touched and they do get touched and kids get upset even without asd.
Also your child is going to have to get used to things being disturbed at some point. It isn't realistic to expect that no-one will ever disturb anything. And I think it's a bit unfair in a way to get them used to feeling things will always be as they've left them as it just increases the distress when it doesn't happen. Just another viewpoint.
My child is 7 now and couldn't care less about things being disturbed whereas he would have full blown throwing himself on the floor meltdowns when he was younger. He would care if something special was actually broken I think but no more than any other child.
Oh god I remember this with ds1. Luckily he was the first so we left his arrangements - often across middle of sittingroom. Luckily he outgrew it by time he was 5. Ds2 is particular. He has his own space in his shared room and his own draw downstairs.
Sometimes though you just have to let the meltdowns happen. Sit through it and have a cuddle as not everything can be arranged.
I agree, Corbyns. I think the key is trying to help them cope with the possibility that things might go wrong, rather than preventing them from going wrong on their behalf.
My dc have the bunk beds with no bunk underneat if that makes sence so that is their safe space just for them. Having a safe space is part of teaching them to cope with others knocking things over, it's their area of control and control is how they manage their anxieties (pda) so it's not an either or situation. At 4 i would expect a child not yet diagnosed with asd (so no professional help or stratagies in place yet) so have very minimal ability to cope when others knock things over, expect this is alot like demanding a blind person see, her limits are every bit as real as anyone with a physical disability. As she gets older putting coping stratagies in place will help somewhat but it's allways helpful for them to have certain areas that are possible to control. A physical space is one of the easiest ways of implimenting this.
DD2 is 12 and also like this. One of the drawers in her bedroom had a complicated bear bedroom in it that remained untouched for about 3 years. It was a huge drawer but it only had the bear and bedding in it. She recently decided it was time to dismantle and we have just jointly sorted out her bedroom.
We respect her stuff, we don't move her things. I always say though that if she wants something to be left in place that it needs to be somewhere not in the way.
She has a designated Lego table and a unit for her completed models in the living room. Her room is immaculate and she knows where absolutely everything is despite being a hoarder.
I very much think you should let her have her things where she wants them. It makes them feel safe and secure, it's also a good idea to talk to her when she is making something to say she needs to leave it where it's not going to get bumped.
So what do you do when your kids have friends over? I imagine saying nothing in this area must be touched would make it all the more appealing to 4 yos.
Two DSs with ASD here. We've always gone with trying to get them used to change and feel comfortable with it, so we let them know that they can keep things the same for a reasonable amount of time (say, overnight) but then it has to be moved/packed away because we needed that space. We found that the more we gave into that need for things to stay the same, the more anxious they got. Ours are now hitting their teens and are fairly relaxed about change. Having said that, all ASD kids are different as you know, and who's to say that other kids would react in the same way?
Just to add; I’m the DSis of an autist DBro. It was a nightmare for both of us when we were 4 & 6. He needed all the space to keep things in line and I had no space play.
Obviously you’re being proactive and looking for a way for you all to be happy but I’d definitely not forget to speak with siblings too and see how they feel. Good luck
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