This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
To ask how to support neighbour with autistic child?(39 Posts)
My neighbour is single parent who has 2 boys aged 14 and 12. The 14 year old is autistic and has massive melt downs, screaming and swearing at his mum and he often crashes things around.
A couple of weeks ago we were out front and mum came over to apologise as he had a particularly bad meltdown at 2am and we have 2 girls aged 3 and 7 and their wall is next to her sons bedroom wall and she was worried they had been disturbed (my kids are quite heavy sleepers-nothing wakes them up).
Obviously with lockdown and no school there has been a lot more meltdowns (hubby working from home says there are often a few in the day). Last night was quite bad and I'm pretty sure I heard mum sobbing. For parents of autistic children, is there anything useful I can do to offer support? What would you guys find helpful? A few weeks ago I texted her to see if she needed anything.
Sorry meant to say i had texted to see if she needed anything and she said she was fine, but i would hate it if she is struggling but felt she couldn't reach out.
I have no practical advice, but how lovely of you to care.
I wonder, could you do a little hand written note just to explain you’re there ( more personal than texting) and a little bunch of flowers so she has something she can enjoy looking at for a little while while things are tough?
You sound like such a lovely neighbour. I have an 11 year old who is autistic and for me it's knowing I'm not judged by others.
It depends how close you are really but sometimes just 10 minutes chatting in the garden with my neighbours can be enough to keep me going.
Flowers are always nice but the vase would probably get smashed on our house.
Could you take her a small gift with a note that lets her know that you are there if she needs a shoulder to cry on and that you would be happy to offer any help that you can? It's probably a load off her mind that the noise doesn't bother you.
The no judgement is SO important. My 'lovely' neighbour decided to ask me why I am the only one who has a build up of cardboard in my garden. I almost chinned the condescending git & I'm normally so placid. Erm, maybe because I'm a lone mother with 3 kids (1 is ASD, 1 is SEN), I'm in the last semester of a demanding MA & trying to also pick up temp work because I've fallen through all the cracks for financial support.... while 'everyone else' is childless & pensioned or furloughed. I don't know what my name is most days nevermind which colour bin it is this week.
Meanwhile, my neighbour on the other side (another older man) is also a joy & reported me to social services for leaving my kids home alone while I picked up a few work shifts.... my oldest is 17 & youngest 14. SS did nothing but sympathise with me & agree it was a malicious call but WTF? Does he not think life is hard enough? Should we starve too?
Oh what I'd give to have a neighbour like you.
My ds has autism and I am worried about the high level of noise he makes especially as we are home all day every day now. We have detached houses but they are very close together and most of the time I have to keep the windows and doors closed because he is so loud.
I agree with what PP said, a note would be nice just to say you hope shes ok and reassure her that she doesnt need to worry about the noise , that your DC are heavy sleepers, and if she needs anything you are there.
@GarlicMonkey, thats awful.. I guess i'm non-judgemental as I just think it must be really tough, particularly if you are on your own. I have very little experience of autism, although I am NHS health professional I mainly see adults and very rarely see patients with autism
Thank you for everyones replies. I think I will get some flowers and a card after work today. We are on quite friendly terms (have chats if we see each other outside). I've seen less of her recently mainly as I have been out at work and she has been at home (she is a teacher so I think has largely been working at home).
Thanks for the advice peeps :-)
My friend who has a 16yo with autism really appreciates meals and baked goods - cakes, sausage rolls, anything that could be used for morning/afternoon tea. If I'm making soups or casseroles I usually make double and drop it round to her. She also appreciates chats whether by SMS or just on the driveway. Anything to help her feel less isolated and to know that someone cares.
You are a lovely, thoughtful and non-judgey person, OP!
Maybe something as simple as a front garden cuppa (or wine) just to have a normal adult conversation once the kids are in bed.
The thing you could consider doing longer term is if there is anywhere you go that the 12yo might like, offer to take him? This might not be realistic as you girls are quite a bit younger, but e.g. the zoo, or a trampolining place.
Often the siblings of children with autism miss out on things as their sibling can't cope.
Wonderful of you to care and WANT to be helpful. Many would be snarky and mentioning noise.
Thank you for being a warm and compassionate neighbour.
Another one who wants to thank you for your thoughtfulness. The non judgement is the key thing - parents of children with autism having meltdowns are so often subject to this. I love the idea of offering a cuppa or a glass of wine in the garden. Then just talk about anything and let her come round to talking about her son if she wants.
It depends on your neighbour anchor friendly you are with her ,I personally would find offers of cups of tea and wine in he Garden all a bit patronising.,what I do appreciate is people being non judgemental about my child ,he has severe autism and learning disabilities ,he's non verbal etc .
I have got a card and a bunch of flowers. Was just going to put in card that i'm there if she needs a cuppa/g&t/shoulder to cry on and not too worry about noise etc. Son is very verbal and articulate. I'm not sure regarding learning disabilites.. he goes to a special school, but I think thats mainly to him not being able to cope in large groups. We had a chat in front garden/driveway a few weeks ago after a bad episode.
Thank you for all the advice
You sound absolutely lovely OP.
Keep being yourself OP you sound so lovely. And a great example to other people. Just showing empathy care and recognising the noise is out of mums control. Wonderful .
Please come and move next door to me!
I’m actually quite teary, and I bet she will be too. You are truly lovely
What a lovely neighbour you are op. So many on here would be posting about reporting her to ss! My dd has sn and used to have huge meltdowns...I swear the neighbours must have thought I was a monster
Thank you for the lovely comments.. It was just last night my heart absolutley broke for her. I took her some flowers and card round and she was really appreciative.
We had a good chat on the doorstep, she has really been struggling, his behaviour has been getting worse, particularly during lockdown. He now has a key worker, but she says it can be particularly bad as if she walks away from him he will then just follow her around the house. She is a teacher at a local private school which has recently closed down so she has lost her job and had that to contend with as well, though she is going into a different career which starts in August. Her mum lives locally (about a 10-15 min drive) and they are socailly 'bubbled' so to speak, but I have said to her that if she needs to pop out the house for 5 mins she is welcome to knock on my door any time.
Thanks again for the suggestions
You’re a lovely person OP.
Join the discussion
Please login first.