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Autistic DC's, how do they interact with other DC's, particularly babies?

(12 Posts)
SleepDeprivedGrumpyBum Mon 11-Jul-11 09:55:06

My DS is 8 months old, and his half brother (DP's son from a previous relationship) is 8 years old but is severely autistic; he has no speech and communicates via the use of sign language and symbols. We have him every other weekend, and he's a fantastic little boy, very cheeky with a wicked sense of humor if he's in the right mood. The problem is he's very wary of his little brother. He refuses to be in the same room as him even if DS is just sitting quietly and playing.
I was just wondering if any other parents of autistic children had experienced anything similar? I really want DS to have a relationship with his big brother, but obviously we cant force the issue as DSS will just sign that he wants to go home. I'm hoping that as DS gets older and moves out of the baby stage his big brother will be more accepting of him.
Any advice or experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Marne Mon 11-Jul-11 10:06:42

Babies are very odd and scary to an autistic child (and to some nt children), both my dd's tend to stay away from babies unless its to steal a toy. I think as the baby grows up, starts to walk and talk then your dss will become less anxious of him. I wouldn't wory too much at this stage.

Claw3 Mon 11-Jul-11 10:29:13

Ds doesnt like babies at all, he cannot stand it when they cry, he has to get as far away as possible.

Even toddlers, he finds them very confusing, he cannot understand or relate to why they act the way they do. He thinks they are 'naughty' because their understanding is age appropriate.

Social stories might help?

staryeyed Mon 11-Jul-11 10:42:22

ds is 6 and sound similar to your dss. He doesnt mind babies at all. Not interested in them either. He ws fine with his toddler brother until he (the toddler) got to the biting and hair pulling phase. For ages he wouldnt go near him. He's much better now and doesnt mind him too much as long as he doesnt spoil his lines of trains etc.

SleepDeprivedGrumpyBum Mon 11-Jul-11 13:44:51

Thank you for the responses.
According to DP DSS's dislike of young children stems from when he was at a childminders and the baby would cry. He get's very agitated at the noise, even if we're at a soft play and another child cries we can visibly see him tense up.

What are social stories? I know DSS's mum spoke to him about there being a baby at daddy's house just after i'd had DS. She's also a SN teacher so I don't know if she will have tried certain approaches. To be honest though like i said we haven't pushed the issue other than saying things like "do you want to say hello to DS?" so he waves at him. It just becomes a bit difficult sometimes now DS can crawl, it's like musical rooms grin

Claw3 Mon 11-Jul-11 14:23:03

Social stories include pictures and symbols and its a way for children to know what you expect from them.

Sometimes just knowing what to do or what you expect them to do, in situations they find stressful, can make the situation less stressful, iyswim?

Also giving your dss a quiet place to retreat to if he gets overwhelmed, with something he finds calming (my ds likes to line up his cars when he gets overwhelmed), might help and actually help him to interact more, if that makes sense.

So social story would be:- What he should expect, what you would like him to do and what he can do if he finds it overwhelming.

BialystockandBloom Mon 11-Jul-11 15:36:38

You could try giving dss his favourite thing, treat, activity, toy or even food, only when he is in the same room as the baby. Repeat doing this, keeping these treats only when they are together. When you give him the treat, praise him for being in the room, and tolerating the baby, in a way he'll understand. The idea would be to gradually make dss come to associate the treat with the baby, so will (hopefully!) start to want to be with the baby so he gets his treat.

Gradually you can start to decrease the treats, but keep the praise going, and keep the praise really enthusiastic ("well done dss for being with the baby", "you're being fantastic and soooo nice to your little brother" etc). He should realise that he gets good things when he's with the baby. Might take several weeks though

Try and keep the baby away from dss and his toys as much as possible. We had a problem when dd started crawling, ds (ASD) was jealous of the atention, and threatened by her if she started to interfere with his toys. But now she is 20 months, he's 4yo and they play together really boisterously nicely now <knackered>

I am sure the older ds gets, the more dss will get used to him.

SleepDeprivedGrumpyBum Mon 11-Jul-11 16:07:42

I think that the idea of a social story could work quite well, as i know DSS uses a similar method of a storyboard diary so that he knows what he's doing on each day.

Also the idea of masses of positive encouragement sounds good, we already do this to an extent so maybe we can just increase this. Unfortunately DSS has such a limited repertoire (spelling) of what he likes to do and eat and play with etc that the idea of restricting these to when he's with DS is probably not practical, but i'll suggest it to DP as obviously i only have a limited knowledge/understanding of DSS's autism.

Thanks again for all your responses

Chundle Mon 11-Jul-11 18:49:48

My dd2 is 23 months but she cannot stand babies. I asked her pyschologist about this and she said it's because babies are noisy, scary and unpredictable, they flail around etc etc, dd2 doesn't even like it when they make cute babbling noises. She gets their shoes/coats and gives them to them!

Pagwatch Mon 11-Jul-11 18:58:51

Ds2 was 6 when we had dd.
He adored her. Still does. Although now she is 8 he finds her snnoying

oodlesofdoodles Mon 11-Jul-11 21:27:34

Chundle - your post made me laugh!
Sleepdeprived - it's one of those competetive yummy mummy things that the older child is supposed to adore the baby and be totally empathic and a perfect little new man and if your ds or dss doesn't you feel terrible about it. My ds had minimal interest in his baby sister, but now that she's a walking talking little person he adores her. She's probably his most effective therapist in fact.
So I'm trying to say don't worry, I'm sure the relationship between the two boys will develop in its own time.

SleepDeprivedGrumpyBum Tue 12-Jul-11 07:49:26

Hi oodles, rest assured I'm not in the yummy mummy competition stakes, way too much like hard work grin I was just trying to maybe get a greater understanding of how to help my DSS process the swirling vortex of craziness that is his baby brother. I don't mind if DSS and DS don't ever become the best of friends; it would just be nice if we could get to a stage where they can be in the same room as one another without causing DSS a great deal of anxiety.

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