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What do you do when a "safe room" doesn't work?

(17 Posts)
makemineaquadruple Wed 01-Jun-11 10:36:40

Hi everyone.

I've posted about my dd's(4.6) increasingly bad behaviour a lot recently, but yesterday was the worst by far. There have been some awful times, but yesterday was an absolute nightmare.

I have no idea what happened but for some reason she just decided to say no to everything. She clearly wanted a fight constantly. The violence although not a new thing has become completely out of control and completely unprovoked. She took a chunk out of dp's hand yesterday and I was so surprised he kept his cool at that, because he had really been struggling for the rest of the day with her nightmarish behaviour. I'm so angry at myself because I let her see me cry. I couldn't control it. I just felt completely beat, physically and mentally. The amount of times she apologised and then 30 seconds later would do it again!! Also, she does this thing when she's like this(although she's never been this bad) where she just repeats bits off films that make no sense whatsoever. For example last night she told me that she was never going to let me use her hair again, which as some of you might know is a line from Tangled(Rapunzel). The worse and more uncontrolable her behaviour gets, the more her language and understanding decreases, and I mean rapidly!

We tried the "safe room" option which many of you on here have recomended, but it just didn't work. We were standing outside her room with the door pulled shut. There was nothing that she could hurt herself with her damage. But, she just screamed and screamed and screamed! I would open the door every few minutes or so just so she knew we were there, but told her that she wasn't coming out until she'd calmed down. This never happened. The only time she did was when she fell asleep for the night.

The first thing she said to me this morning was "i'm sorry about yesterday mummy". It seemed genuine and heartfelt. But, by 8:30 she was already on her first tantrum. Shouting at me to get her things which obviously I refused to do. Hitting, biting, and then babbling. Her behaviour just becomes in general "odd". It's like she's not my daughter. I'm terrifeid that one day i'll get more and more of that side of her and less of the side that can be so caring, thoughful, patient and loving.

Sorry for the length. I really hope somebody can help me with what to do next. I really feel i've tried everything.

Thanks.

asdx2 Wed 01-Jun-11 11:04:15

With ds I used to put him on his cushions and move away. I didn't speak to him look at him or try to get any response until he'd screamed it out.
If you are going to use the room then I'd put up a gate so that she can see out as a shut door is frightening but more than that you need to talk about how the chill out will be used when she is calm.
Yesterday it was the first try, she didn't know what would happen, she didn't know whether you'd come back or what she needed to do and your popping your head round the door just inflamed things because she probably thought you were going to let her out and then you didn't.
When they are so far gone speaking is useless really because they can't process what is being said.
Are there things in the room that she'd enjoy? Ds had spinners and kooshies and space blankets and water and oil toys so he had something to distract him and comfort himself. Remember it's not a time out it's a chill out a place for her to calm herself down.
You won't get instantaneous results, you have to fine tune as you go and dd has to learn what she needs to do too. It will take time.

smileANDwave2000 Wed 01-Jun-11 11:45:19

totally understand what you mean , the safe room does work but it has to be done as if not a punishment if its done as punishment it really does not work at all , my ds would go even more crazy if you stopped him comming out it has to become part of the "norm" at home and school doing the same and giving the option of a quiet space or perhaps a walk in the garden at school the field they need to learn to self disipline IYSWIM to learn control and they need to be safe and left alone like asdx2 says no worried or not popping head round the door the other if say your out is distractionsand ignore however embarrassed at the time you might be (and youve no need to feel embarrassed but its human nature) if in a supermarket i step over ds and walk off looking at the shelves he soon hgets up if not i let him overhear me say to dad or to myself if alone hmmm im going to the sweet asile or toy asile. i can do that because generally i avoid taking ds as its sensory overload to him so its not an every week occurance would have to rethink that obviously if was every other day or something. just to add using the right technics that you over time find work for your dc you really will see more and more of the better side (for want of a better phrase) of her where as she becomes a teen and adult she will learn control it must be so hard to learn for them it as asdx2 says really takes a long time and an angels patience

Marne Wed 01-Jun-11 12:19:31

I had to do the same with dd1 a few days ago (put her in a safe space whic in our house is on the stairs), i put bot dd's there (both ASD), i explained to them 'that they can get down when they have stoped screeming and crying' and then walked away, dd2 was quiet after 1 minute so i let her back into the sitting room, dd1 continued to cry, screem and moan, it went on and on, i left her there, went a washed up, eventually she calmed down and said sorry. The more i talk to her (answer her moaning) the worse she gets so i ingnore (as much as i can) until she has calmed down, this can take minutes or hours. Dd1 seems to be getting worse, keeps saying she's going to kick me and refusses to say sorry (makes our i'm in the wrong). Dd2 has more severe ASD and is a lot easier, she just accepts that she has to stop crying to get what she wants (she can't really give me lip like dd1 does).

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 01-Jun-11 12:23:39

Is there any way you could look into ABA, which can be very good for behavioural stuff like this? It worked for my boy when he was 3/4 and aggressive.

makemineaquadruple Wed 01-Jun-11 16:18:21

Didn't realise when I last posted that the worst was yet to come. Bloody hell, she was like a wild animal most of this afternoon!! Her nanna(my mum) was round and she said that she was really close to smacking her(we don't smack her) and found it really hard not to when she saw what dd was doing to me. It's really hard to watch her daughter being bitten and scratched by her grandaughter. She even has a few battle scars from today which I feel absolutely terrible about.

I have to admit that I feel completely out of my depth now. I've never smacked, but when she's like this it's so hard not to, if just for self defence. I'm scared that one day i'll completely lose it.

I was watching a programme the other day and I saw a women who was an author of an autistim help book and she said that we should stop thinking of ourselves as "at breaking point because we're already broken". We should "accept that and move one". When I first heard her explain it in this way I have to say I didn't agree and thought that it wasn't a helpful way of looking at things. Today however, that's exactly how i'm feeling. Broken.

makemineaquadruple Wed 01-Jun-11 16:20:26

Forgot to say thank you for everybody's comments and advice. They've been noted.

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 01-Jun-11 16:21:52

Makemine, I am going to PM you a little about ABA

smileANDwave2000 Wed 01-Jun-11 16:33:33

broken maybe but never think that it cant be repaired (((hugs)))

madwomanintheattic Wed 01-Jun-11 16:39:05

www.safespaces.co.uk

sometimes you get funding through ot if the need is great enough, but usually only if all other avenues have been exhausted.

Marne Wed 01-Jun-11 17:55:15

makemine- i'm so sorry you are having such a sh*t time, does she see OT at all? I also agree with the others about ABA, you need to be getting help now to get this sorted, she's still very young, this needs to be tackled before she gets bigger. Has she got a diagnosis? what help is she/you getting? I wish i could offer more advice but have no real expereance of this as both my dd's don't really hurt me or get very violent, dd1 tends to just screem and cry and back chat which is easier to ignore.

Agnesdipesto Wed 01-Jun-11 22:58:17

Some info here and support for ABA approach from royal college psychs here. Also look at challenging behaviour foundation.
This ABA provider offers a package called Crisis-ResQ - a week of support in the home to deal with the challenging behaviour. Be very expensive but they know what they are doing. Whereas i know our local CAMHS team have given really crappy advice about challenging behaviour with very outdated techniques (mainly restraint whereas ABA is more positive reward approaches)
You need to call an emergency meeting with professionals and demand they fund a package of proper support - get in touch with a local ABA provider first and make sure they can help you. You need people who can come into the home every day until its sorted so would need to be local.
Does your child have a statement of SEN?
Can you call an emergency review of the statement?
Usually LAs really reluctant to fund ABA but in cases where placements might break down etc etc the cost argument may be less of an issue - you could argue if don't get support now you are looking at residential and huge care package down the line.
They will almost certainly fob you off with a local behaviour support outreach team. I know its not what you will feel like doing but you need to start keeping a diary and a paper trail so if you have to take this to a SEN tribunal you have the evidence - and photos of the scratches if necessary.

mariamagdalena Wed 01-Jun-11 23:42:37

If any bites have broken the skin you need to get antibiotics off the GP. Human bites often turn nasty. They're a lot more likely to go septic than dog or cat bites. Won't hurt to get it in the medical record either.

mariamagdalena Thu 02-Jun-11 07:54:07

If any bites have broken the skin you need to get antibiotics off the GP. Human bites often turn nasty. They're a lot more likely to go septic than dog or cat bites. Won't hurt to get it in the medical record either.

mariamagdalena Thu 02-Jun-11 07:54:40

If any bites have broken the skin you need to get antibiotics off the GP. Human bites often turn nasty. They're a lot more likely to go septic than dog or cat bites. Won't hurt to get it in the medical record either.

mariamagdalena Thu 02-Jun-11 08:22:20

Sorry. Clearly I can't work my phone. I need a teenager.

leiela Thu 02-Jun-11 10:13:08

Pass your phone to the closest 4 year old and you will be fine :D

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