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Time out for Autistic child? Help? I ended up smacking him :-(

(28 Posts)
mum0ftw0 Wed 27-Jul-11 19:02:31

SoI was advised by the workers on my parenting course to put my son in time out for very bad things he does (like hitting), and time him there for 2 minutes (even though he's aged 4) but only start timing once he's sat down nicely.

So at which point do I start timing?
When he's finished trying to get up, screaming and hitting me? When he finally settles and just growls 'I'm not fuck off' repeatedly with random screaming bits, (which I'm she he can do for longer than I'm physically able to sit there for.

There's no chance he's going to sit there quietly ever, I've persisted for weeks now.

I ended up smacking his hand back, after he'd hit me for the twentieth time while I was sat there silently giving no eye contact, and it was acually really hurting me.
Smacking him back seemed the only way of making him stop.

mum0ftw0 Wed 27-Jul-11 19:03:35

I have not smacked his hand in about two years, and he certainly doesn't witness smacking from anyone else.

Marne Wed 27-Jul-11 19:31:02

Its hard to find a punishment that works for an autistic child (i am trying with dd2), i timed out dd2 (5) today as she kept sitting on the dog and making her growl, i said 'no' 4 or 5 times which she laughed at, i then smacked (well tapped) her which she laughed at so then i timed her out, this didn't seem to bother her much either but distracted her from sitting on the dog. It sounds like you need a safe space to time him out in (maybe his bedroom but make sure there are no toys in there), you can then shut the door so he cant kick and hit you (he might kick the door and shout for a while but again, dont start timing until he is quiet).

coff33pot Wed 27-Jul-11 19:31:24

The time out on the naughty step worked for my two oldest kids when they were small (NT) but definately not my DS (poss AS)

It was a nightmare trying and I do sympathise with you a LOT. It seemed an endless battle of wills and took 2hrs of screaming and the only thing that would make him stay there in the end was because he was worn out and well past the point of knowing why he was there in the first place!

DS understands more visual than actually telling him what he did wrong. I make the convo short "not good, not happy, bad behaviour" Then I drew a list of squares with a picture of his playstation or DS or something that he really liked doing. Under that I drew a sad face and a happy face. Just in thick black pen.
Showed him and drew a cross under the sad face at the same time telling him he needed time out and to sit quietly because a second cross would mean he would lose his ps3/ds whatever for this morning (if it was morning I only withdrew items for half days so he had two chances iyswim) I would then walk out door and close it (ours is glass so I can see and he can see me) the barrier of being ignored seemed to do the trick. Of course he would protest and yell and when he did I just opened door calmly walked up to him and put another cross under the sad face and said "lost ps3 this morning" "you still need to have quiet time out" and walk out the door. The short sharp just telling and going just give them a shock into stopping what they are doing and they cant stand being ignored. If he came out I would just say "check the fridge" and he would look at the crosses and go back in. When he came out quiet and said sorry I made a big thing of it by drawing a tick under the happy face and he saw me do it with a smile on my face and a hug after.

Not saying it worked first time as he lost his ps3 for 3 days first time round grin And no he was not happy but I was quick to say you lost it today and have two days to go and show him the picture on the fridge. If there was a hissy fit I would lift the pen and say it would be a shame to put a cross on there.

mum0ftw0 Wed 27-Jul-11 20:15:10

Thanks for sharing smile

lol I can imagine my son going completely mental at the sight of that pen moving towards the sad face.
arg, I just don't think he will understand why he's getting something taken away.
Maybe in a year or so.

I think Imay have to resort to locking him in a room for exclusion? So he's not hitting me like crazy?
He's getting very strong.

Maybe I'd have to hold the handle.
Because if social services see a lock they'll think it's abuse or something?

Debs75 Wed 27-Jul-11 20:26:59

I have tried time out for ds,12,asd and it has never worked.
It all depends on what he understands, ds never 'got' time out so it didn't work. We have found it is better to taker him from somrthing. We did try switching the tv off but that freaked him out even more so we had to resort to changing the channel. If he is on the comp and is naughty we take him to one side fir 5 mins, If he is naughty outside he stands with dp for 5 mins. Taking him to a time out step/chair riled him up

you have to remember that soemtimes they want exclusion so,will act out more to get the exclusion. Ask about restraining techniques, school used it on ds and it is one of the few things he responds to

lisad123 Wed 27-Jul-11 21:53:55

ok, time out worked for dd1 who has a dx of autism but she is very rule lead, it does not work for DD2 who also has a dx of autism. What does work for her is counting down, so "Im going to count to 5" followed by a simple instruction of what I want her to do
(not what I want her to stop VERY IMPORTANT as children with ASD rarely understand the negative conatations of words, so just hear hitting, rather than no hitting)

I also leave the room, she freaks out if i try and move her too far, although I might move her slightly to keep her safe.

Claw3 Wed 27-Jul-11 22:32:38

Have you tried a reward for learning to sit in time out?

lisad123 Wed 27-Jul-11 22:36:53

isnt that counter productive claw3? mine would be naughty just to get the reward after grin

Claw3 Wed 27-Jul-11 22:52:51

I suppose it depends on how you look at it.

Learning how to sit in time out, is quite an achievement for children with sn's. For a child with sn's i think there has to be a lot of motivation.

The desired outcome is for the child to sit in time out, does it really matter how this is achieved? You are rewarding positive behaviour ie doing what you are asking of them, which is the problem.

It also depends on what you consider rewards. I consider rewards as privelleges such as games console, TV etc.

So rather than if you dont sit in time out, you cannot watch your favourite show for example. If you sit in time out, you CAN watch your favourite TV show.

Only a slight difference, as if they dont sit in time out, they dont get to watch TV, but a positive difference, rather than a negative one iyswim

nadia77 Wed 27-Jul-11 23:47:30

hmmmmmy time out works my ds is 4 asd and its naughty corner for 4 mins he sits there fine! i have one in the garden too for when he is holding on to side net of the trampoline and jumping he looks as if he is about to fly out of there! so i start counting from 1 to 5 ask him to come out then i dont even have to tell him and he goes and sits on the naughty stool for 4 mins same technique i have asked the nursery to use is well and on one occasion he pushed a child when asked to sit in the naughty corner he said sorry! so he does understand the purpose is well.

sickofsocalledexperts Thu 28-Jul-11 08:30:01

Time out is very unsuited to a lot of autistic kids because they actually like to be left alone. That's what the word autistic means, after all - "prefers own company". My boy would love it if you left him on the step, to play with a piece of fluff, or stim away happily for 4 mins!. I think you have to find something that works for the particular autistic child, which they associate as a bad consequence of hitting. I wouldn't hit a child , but I would find something that they absolutely didn't like and do it EVERY time they hit / bite etc. And believe me, it is better to eradicate this behaviour with some firm handling now, rather than wait till they are big enough to do you and your family real harm. Actually it is crueller to let them grow up aggressive, as that narrows down their options in life very sharply.

mum0ftw0 Thu 28-Jul-11 08:46:00

yes, I don't even condone myself smacking, I don't plan to do it again, at all.

I'm trying out a really scary angry whisper for to use when he lashes out.
So he knows I mean bussiness.

He's started hitting the dogs, shouting'say sorry' then screaming SORRY so I let it go.
Then he has a fir because I didn't follow the procedure of putting him on the stairs, so he says SIT ON STAIRS NOW repeatedly, until I say get on the stairs.


mum0ftw0 Thu 28-Jul-11 08:46:43


Claw3 Thu 28-Jul-11 08:55:55

It can be difficult with children with ASD. I dont think its the severity of the punishment that is important, its the lesson learnt.

When your ds hits the dog, have you tried telling him what you want him to do instead?

Time out never worked for ds, he didnt understand why he was sitting on the step, he did however understand my instructions of what i wanted him to do instead.

wasuup3000 Thu 28-Jul-11 10:30:41

My son doesn't undestand the concept of "time out" as he has not broken the law and the police are not coming to take him to prison. It would be Ok for a police officer to tell him off but not his parents? Love ASD reasoning!!
I think a social story regarding time out maybe worth a try?
A little story with a picture of him as a main character and what happens if he doesn't do as he is told with a positive reward whne he does as he is told?

insanityscatching Thu 28-Jul-11 12:58:27

Ds doesn't get any punishments or rather he would feel punished but he wouldn't connect the punishment with the crime and boy would he take revenge so he is never punished.
What happens here is I give him a choice to be good so I say "You can choose (always the same words because he grasps that this is the chance to turn things round) you can stop X and stay here or you can do X in your room" Whichever choice he made he would be rewarded by a square of dairy milk if he chose not to I would say "I am not watching/listening to you do X, I am going in the other room. When you have finished you can come to me"
I would then go in the other room and close the door. Ds is not allowed to enter a room where the door is closed without knocking and waiting to be invited in. So I'd wait for the knock, ask "are you finished?" and let him in then. I would say well done for finishing but he wouldn't get the dairy milk because he didn't make the right choice.
It is hugely successful here, ds is far bigger than I am so would never try to force him anywhere and this way I don't make him angry so I am safe from him lashing out. Ds was at one point described as having extreme challenging behaviour but now he is incredibly well behaved.

Starchart Thu 28-Jul-11 13:09:39

Generally, whatever ds is doing currently, or holding stops immediately. He'll scream blue murder but when he has stopped he has to 'wait' for 2 minutes and then he can go back to whatever it was he was doing, even if it was looking out of the window.

I just take away from him whatever it is he is currently motivated by. There is no point removing his usual favourite helicopter, because since he wasn't right then playing with it, he isn't bothered that he can continue to not play with it iyswim.

drivemecrazy63 Thu 28-Jul-11 13:16:38

thats the route SS use insanityscatching we dont use punishments rather consequences for chosing the wrong path IYSWIM also the consequences should be right away and never carried over as a lot of dcs with ASD/AS also have short term memory and what he "apparently " did wrong yesterdays totally lost on him a few hours later let alone a couple days later so its short shapr thrift and when hes calmed down and knows hes done wrong he now says sorry mum/ teacher and its never mentioned again as we all make mistakes and need to move on some dcs like to be held others left alone i find ds is now at 11 self disiplining by going off to his room and quieting down and returning once calm... not always but often which is major improvement after years of meltdowns

insanityscatching Thu 28-Jul-11 13:48:30

Ds is very good at self regulating too nowadays and will scoot upstairs if he feels his temper rising.He will slam his door sometimes at that point (once for angry and twice for furious grin)
It feels miraculous to me because when he was younger and would launch vicious attacks seemingly without warning I feared he would seriously injure me one day.Nowadays I am nowhere near as scared of him as I was when he was half his size and age.
The only real consequence he gets is not getting a square of dairy milk but he doesn't really notice and I don't point it out to him anywaywink.The rewards change according to what he likes at that time dairy milk is good because we need to get the calories in so it's killing two birds with one stone grin but he has had stickers and marbles and pennies at one time too.

drivemecrazy63 Thu 28-Jul-11 15:26:00

yes thats it 10 mins less on ps3 or ds or no bar of choccy after school but we let school handle the situation and on their advice as they will handle it in school we dont the give him a second consequence when he gets home as they allow him to take his ds into school and if hes behaved well they allow him and all the dcs freetime at end of the day so his favorites are ds goldentime or softplay he will get 5 mins knocked off that but also he will get longer if hes been fantastic that day which to hims a real insentive... ds is a poor eater a grazer and very very limited diet so we had to find things as he was so underweight originally hard as he only eats 5 things in the world at any given time occasionally he will drop one after a couple years and then be obsessed with another

insanityscatching Thu 28-Jul-11 15:36:20

Oh we have the food issues here as well, he currently eats burgers (only a specific sort, dry bread or dry toast,dairy milk, very occasionally Mcd's french fries and rarely dry cornflakes. He does the drop one and pick up another too. He's recently dropped roast chicken for burgers and mint matchmakers for dairy milk and has dropped chocolate digestives altogether.
He's as fit as a fiddle in spite of the restricted diet that started as soon as he was weaned though.

Debs75 Thu 28-Jul-11 18:33:10

I like the sound of your consequences over punishments insanity I often feel onlookers want to see ds punished for a particular outburst when I know that a traditional punishment will make him even worse. I would love to know more.

I empathise on the size thing as well. Whends was 3-4 he was capable of almost knocking me out. I have been dreading him turning 13 as I just knew he would be big. He is now 12 and almost my height and very very strong. Luckily he has calmed a little and doesn't lash out as much as he did at first

pigletmania Thu 28-Jul-11 18:49:27

I have admitted that I have smacked dd 4.5, but much much less now that I have been on the Hanen course as we communicate better with her. Don't admitt it on the smacking thread currently on AIBU as there are some real judgey pants there

insanityscatching Thu 28-Jul-11 21:33:57

Debs there's not much to tell really. Ds likes heightened emotions so if I got cross he'd feed on it. Giving him a choice to stop what might make me cross or do it in his room means he doesn't get to feed on my reactions. By removing myself if he doesn't stop means he loses his audience because he only really cares about my reactions. With no audience he stops anyway.
I have few rules basically no hitting, no rude words and no deliberate destruction. I step in early so would give him a choice to stop if he said for God's sake (even though that doesn't annoy me) because if I ignored it he'd think the rules had changed.
We are all very hands off with ds because he doesn't recognise what is a friendly pat or hug and is more likely to return it with a slap.He allows me and dd to kiss a certain spot on the top of his head when he gets up and when we go to bed.
Out and about I end up focussing solely on ds so mostly don't notice others' reactions and people who know me and ds well know that even if it does appear bizarre it works because they remember ds as he used to be.
Ds is very reward focussed and I hold all the rewards so the prospect of a reward is normally all it takes to get him to behave really. He gets small ones throughout the day like the square of dairy milk.Haircuts and dentists are done on Thursdays because he has a magazine he wants on that day and most trips out end with a Mcdonalds drive thru.Washing and dressing earn him time on the laptop and getting ready for bed so a shower gets him a dvd to watch in his room.
The only consequences would be that he didn't get the reward if he didn't do his bit first.
He never protests about not getting a reward because he believes that it is wholly down to him whether he gets it. If he feels lazy then he accepts that he won't get the laptop or dvd without question and he'll put up with things he dislikes to get the magazine.
He is now in the most part a joy to have around the only time he annoys me really is when he forgets to keep quiet at night but it's not that he deliberately sets out to be noisy he forgets that the rest of us need to sleep.

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