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Lovely 5 year old, possibly autistic - his behaviour. Advice wanted.

(18 Posts)
DiamondDoris Thu 23-Jun-11 17:21:27

My DS (5 in a week's time) (awaiting dx of autism) went floppy several times, lay down in muddy grass, licked pavement, ate sycamores leaves and tried to run off several times, while I tried to restrain him/pull him up at school pick up time. He's not always like this, but it took us forever to get home. Any tips or advice from parents who have encountered similar. I don't want to have to keep pulling him up or restraining him, but I don't want him to get hurt (ie knocked down crossing the road). Should I buy some reins? I just don't know what to do! He has to wear a high visibility jacket at school (mainstream) because he keeps running into the car park.

Starchart Thu 23-Jun-11 17:28:02

Well predictably I would suggest you research ABA, or at least look into getting some advice from a behavioural analysit.

Why are you waiting for a dx of autism? I mean if you know what you are waiting for, why haven't you got it iyswim.

purplepidjin Thu 23-Jun-11 17:29:23

Not one I've come across but definitely sounds like Autism!

"No!" and redirect him onto something else. Every. Single. Time. (There will be many times)

Can he be persuaded to run/skip/hop/sing? Ok, so you'll look like a plank. I don't tend to mind looking like a plank, but then I get to go home at the end of the shift. And i figure I'd look like more of a plank if the child continued the undesirable behaviour grin

Actually, eating leaves is fairly common (well, i've met two children who do it and heard about others, which makes it common in the world of Autism) - have a google for "Pica food" or somesuch

DiamondDoris Thu 23-Jun-11 17:40:52

Starchart - the paediatrician wants to wait 6 months before diagnosing him/not diagnosing him with asd because he's just had grommets inserted, yes his hearing wasn't great, nor his speech, but the school, speech therapist and me are approaching it as though he's already been diagnosed. The speech therapist is going to try and get him dxd earlier for everyone (and my DS) concerned. I'll google ABA.

purplepidjin - I try to distract him - doesn't always work. But getting him to sing might, as he loves singing. Maybe I could bring some stickers out with me when I go to collect him, that'll probably work too.

purplepidjin Thu 23-Jun-11 17:50:33

You have to find the right distraction - one that's more interesting than whatever the undesirable behaviour is. So, putting a carrot in his mouth when he wants soil isn't going to work. But singing with happyseeming Mummy is hopefully more interesting than lying on the ground with bored or irritated Mummy wink

If he likes stickers, how about he gets a little one for every 20/50/100 steps he takes doing "good walking". Amount obviously depends on how far he normally gets and how far he can count wink then he gets a treat when he gets home eg: toy soldier, 10 minutes computer time, water play whatever he likes

bear in mind that most of us think chocolate is a huge treat, but DNiece (5, ASD) would turn her nose up and go for a rice cake...

dolfrog Thu 23-Jun-11 18:15:57


Grommets usually refers to Otitis Media with Effusion (Glue Ear) which is a means of acquiring Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) which is a listening disability.

Following on from purplepidjin singing and making music can be theraputic some autistic children, have a look at From music making to speaking: Engaging the mirror neuron system in autism

magicstick Thu 23-Jun-11 18:23:15

My son use to be like this trying to run off throwing himself on the floor. We used to do a lot of playing while walking along. We were always singing. We used what ever his obsbesion at the time was. He used to like starwars so we would walk along with our lightsabers and pretend we were on a mission looking for some hidden treasure. This worked well because he found it more interesting than rolling around on the floor.

DiamondDoris Thu 23-Jun-11 18:46:46

Thanks for the advice! In terms of running off (into a road etc) would a safety harness be okay? His little hand often slips from mine and I get hysterical when this happens. Would he mind being in a harness?

magicstick Thu 23-Jun-11 19:39:25

I think the reins would have to be a personal choice. I would never have used them because my ds would have hated the feel of them so he would have had a big temper tantrum making things worse. I did find that he would walk holding my hand as long as I was playing along with whatever game we were playing. As long as I was interesting to him he didnt run off.

Eveiebaby Thu 23-Jun-11 19:42:45

How about a wrist strap? It might make your DS feel like he had more freedom rather than if he wore reigns.

colditz Thu 23-Jun-11 19:46:46 fill the bag full of 'things' he likes and hold the strap.

Agnesdipesto Thu 23-Jun-11 19:51:24

we have not tackled this yet - instead we got a free Maclaren Major pushchair from the occupational therapist at the hospital (wheelchair services).
I mean we do make him walk sometimes, but not when i've go to be somewhere important. He is 4.5
At the moment we have other battles which are taking priority (eating!)
He would hate reins but happily goes in the buggy
You can probably claim low rate DLA mobility for behavioural problems when walking.

DiamondDoris Thu 23-Jun-11 23:05:53

Thanks. I think I'll get a wrist strap of some kind - I like the bag idea. Yes reins may be too harsh and too restricting. Good ideas. He does still use a pushchair, but I'm moving to a small flat and won't have space for it. We take the taxi for longer trips or we just leave the house an extra 15 minutes! Usually arrive too early though! Another thing he does (which I don't mind) is shuffle his feet or walks like he's "drunk", I suppose it's just a fun thing for him to do?

amberlight Fri 24-Jun-11 09:50:00

Hi DiamondDoris,
I'm on the autism spectrum and might be able to help explain some of his behaviour, assuming he does turn out to be diagnosed with it.
You say that at school pickup time he going floppy several times, lay down in muddy grass, licked pavement, ate sycamores leaves and tried to run off several times?

I wonder if it's because of sensory overload at the end of a long day? How is his behaviour mid morning on a normal day, rather than first or last thing?

For me, it would be like this...I get up in the morning and cope with the pain of getting ready (washing, teeth, hair, putting on clothes etc), then I go into a wall of noise outside (traffic, birds, people) and get to school where there is an avalanche of sensory stuff (people, eye contact, social stuff happening, noise, dust, rules to follow). I go into a classroom where there's more overwhelming stuff (computers whirring, overhead lights flickering, teachers and pupils voices mingling into one nightmare noise), and I cope all day long but I'm getting more and more and more tired and scared and stressed and I want to hide under something or do something really repetitive so I can focus on that and not the pain any more.
I get to the end of the day and out into the chaos of everyone leaving - all those voices, all that saying goodbye and people jostling each other, and I'm so tired now that I want to crawl under something and never come out again.
But instead I just collapse down and focus on what I see in front of me - the pavement - how does it taste? Can I focus on that rather than the scary noise and me feeling SO tired and so scared? Can I taste this leaf to see if it helps take my mind off things? Can I run away from the noise and the scariness?

Sometimes it's just us trying our very best to cope with the uncopeable.
What might help is a different school routine or a different way to pick him up from school -something very very quiet and slow so he has a chance to just 'be' and get home and chill out.

For me, a wrist strap hurts like hell. His response may be different.
Might help, might not...Just thoughts really.

purplepidjin Fri 24-Jun-11 10:38:08

Amber got there first with a much better description, but the walking like a drunk thing sounds like he's seeking sensory input to me, too!

Is he small enough that you can spin him round fast a few times in the playground before you leave? Would he enjoy being wrapped up tight in a sheet or blanket and given a big squeeze? Would he tolerate listening to an ipod/mp3 player to give him the "headspace" Amber talked about?

Swing your arms while holding hands and take "giant steps" like a dinosaur or elephant might give him that feedback too?

DiamondDoris Fri 24-Jun-11 12:29:34

We walked to school in a fun way today, embarrassing DD, but it worked. He's less active and more subdued in the morning, so it must be sensory overload although he doesn't seem to display any displeasure, just happy and smiling but wanting to do the usual running about and rolling around. I'm just fearful he'll hurt himself. The eating things like leaves, again is just my paranoia that he'll choke. He's incredibly tactile and likes touch and touching. I don't think noise bothers him (but it does me - extremely noise sensitive). Images bother him, he's scared of tv adverts for some reason! When the grass is dry I will encourage him to lie down in it now, as he must enjoy the sensation and the peace it gives him after a long school day. I guess I have to see/understand things from his perspective. Thanks all.

chuckeyegg Fri 24-Jun-11 12:42:45

My DS hates reins too and the backpack with reins and whirled around and around when I put them on him, very effective for me giving up. smile

Amberlight - your posts are so helpful, you explain things so it makes sense. x

Marne Fri 24-Jun-11 12:43:25

Dd2 does this (mainly the eating things and refusing to walk, also drags her feet so i have to pull her along), one thing that works for us is giving her a little map and a back pack (like dora the explorer), put 3 things on the map thet you have to walk past (shop, bridge, church ect...), make it very simple but enough to keep his intersest. You could also give him a sweat to suck which will stop him putting things in his mouth or try giving him something to cary (so he cant touch things or pick up things to eat). Dd2 loves to run on grass bare foot smile, it must just feel nice.

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