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does your autistic child refer to you to check behaviour?

(37 Posts)
sphil Fri 05-Aug-11 22:27:38

I've recently realised that Ds2 (8, severe autism) always looks at me to check my reaction when he is doing something I've told him not to do. So, for example, if I tell him not go on the trampoline, he'll walk towards it but keeps turning back and grinning at me. He also does it when he THINKS I'm going to tell him not to do something. For example, we were at the beach earlier this week and he started to walk towards the sea. Normally I wouldnt let him go on his own, but I was sitting very near the sea's edge. He kept turning and looking until I said several times ' It's OK DS, you can go'. Once he was sitting in the sea, he kept turning round, looking at me and laughing as the waves broke around him.

I thought that this kind of referencing of other people was unusual in severely autistic children? Or am I wrong?

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Fri 05-Aug-11 22:32:31

Mine has Asperger's and does it all the time in unfamiliar or new situations. He has done it since being around 4 or 5. He relied on me for years to be his touchstone of what was and wasn't OK. Then it extended slowly to watching others whom he thought knew what was OK.
I know that's not severe autism, and I'd be interested to see if it held true in those circumstances too.

LeninGrad Fri 05-Aug-11 22:35:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 05-Aug-11 22:45:04

Sphil, is it a fairly new thing? Maybe a bit of developmental progress, checking for your reaction. How's his sense of humour? It's the sort of thing my HF ASD DS used to do as a sort of joke.

ProfessionallyOffendedGoblin Fri 05-Aug-11 22:47:43

Aspies do show affection LeninGrad, often indiscriminate and inappropriate.
DS never did get the hand of Stranger Danger. smile

5inthebed Fri 05-Aug-11 22:47:48

DS2 does this quite a lot, more so when he is having a bad day.

BialystockandBloom Fri 05-Aug-11 22:52:08

Yes 4yo ds does this a lot too. He has ASD, high functioning.

Sometimes I think it's to test boundaries (in a young nt child way).

Sometimes to check whether he's 'getting it right' kind of way (eg social situations - he's recognising in some ways that he is somehow getting social things wrong and asks us what to do).

Sometimes to sort of ask for permission - I think this happens more in situations where he's a bit anxious, and wants me to reassure him. Eg he's v anxious about toilets and in an unfamiliar one will always ask my permission to go and to tell him that it "won't splash". A bit like your boy and the sea? ie just wanted to know that he was allowed to go in and that it would be ok?

The trampoline thing sounds to me as if he was just being a bit cheeky tbh. And re referencing other people - he obviously hasn't read the page of that textbook has he? grin

LeninGrad Fri 05-Aug-11 22:53:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

coff33pot Fri 05-Aug-11 22:54:16

The only time DS checks with me is if he has hurt himself and is making a decision on if he should shout about it. I also get "I love you Mum" several times over expecting a return answer every time. Funnily enough this is usually at the forefront of a meltdown as if what he is about to do he knows I wont be happy with but he cant help himself. Other checking is going into school, he has to check the secretary is in the office if she isnt then he wont go anywhere till she shows. He has to check that its ok to go in and hang up coat but constantly checking I am there. Then he has to walk with me to library with his one to one. If he just says bye and a hug then I know its a good day. If he says "I love you Mum" I know I am going to get a phonecall grin

LeninGrad Fri 05-Aug-11 22:56:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

coff33pot Fri 05-Aug-11 22:58:29

No lenin mine will not take sympathy, he has a very high pain threshold so if it hurts it really does and he will try to kick and smash whatever it was that hurt him.

LeninGrad Fri 05-Aug-11 23:01:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BialystockandBloom Fri 05-Aug-11 23:04:29

Lenin ds had this too - for a year or so if he hurt himself he would use every ounce of self-control to stop himself crying. If he had reallly hurt himself he would hide somewhere. Would get angry and refuse to acknowledge it, and say things like "no mummy's bumped her head" or "no dd banged her foot".

Took a bit of work with ABA tutors to overcome this. We did a bit of video modelling (acting out scenarios where we hurt ourselves and were comforted), and acting out bumps etc with toys. And when he hurt himself stopped ourselves rushing to his aid, but just sat back and told him he could come to us for a cuddle if he wanted to.

Think the strategy was a bit too successful: he then went through a phase of demanding a plaster for the tinest bump grin

BialystockandBloom Fri 05-Aug-11 23:06:15

Our ABA supervisor said it could be them trying to just process what has happened. In some instances eg a child bumps head, then goes back and deliberately does it again to try and figure out what has happened.

coff33pot Fri 05-Aug-11 23:06:38

DS is so high that he had abscess actually erupt THEN it hurt, it must have been hurting in the build up for days. He fractured his leg in 3 places and has had his elbow dislocated so his arm was swinging and it had to be popped back (both these accidents at nursery) He didnt shed a single tear.

He is being assessed for AS. But to me he has this stuborness about him too, in wide spaces he will just run without regard for safety at all. There is no checking to see where I am then. No stranger danger whatsover so he has no shyness about him.

LeninGrad Fri 05-Aug-11 23:07:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGrad Fri 05-Aug-11 23:08:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Fri 05-Aug-11 23:19:21

Ds2 used to have a high pain threshold, but now screams and gets upset if he hurts himself. He also gets very cross if anyone else hurts themselves and cries. He may even hit them and tell them they should have been more careful.

WilsonFrickett Fri 05-Aug-11 23:35:38

Funny, with mine it's blood rather than pain that seems to be the thing. So a cut will always be worse than a bang or bump.

WilsonFrickett Fri 05-Aug-11 23:38:56

OP, meant to say in answer to your point blush I think it's a sign of an ASD child with a great parent who has worked very, very hard. So they can't process if what they are doing is right or wrong because they can't read the situation, but they sure as hell can read you. As someone else said, you are the touchstone.

sphil Sat 06-Aug-11 08:16:05

Thanks Wilson , thats a lovely thing to say smile. The social stuff has been the easiest to work on with him, I guess because he's naturally good at it. Bialystock - your description is EXACTLY what DS does - in many ways he reminds me of a 3 year old testing the boundaries and deciding whether or not to be defiant! He also finds the teasing element very funny. Your comment about him not reading that page of the textbook echoes what one of the teachers at school said the other day " Your DS hasnt read the autism books has he? " grin

It is certainly true that DS2 is an odd mixture. In some ways he acts like a HF autistic child - this referencing thing, eye contact, sense of humour, socialbility. But interms of language and cognitive skills he's very severely delayed. It's beginning to dawn on me that his executive function/praxis skills are the real issue - his language and play abilities are hugely compromised by his difficulties with sequencing. So thats the next thing to work on I guess...

The pain issue is interesting. Ds2 has a 'normal' reaction now - says 'hurt' and shows me the injured part. But his reaction is delayed for a significant time - as if it takes a while for the pain to register. When he was very young he had a very high pain threshhold. Emotional pain is a different matter. When he is upset he shuns sympathy - in fact he gets very cross if I ask him what the matter is or try to comfort him - says 'no no' and pushes me away. I need to
tackle this but he has no understanding of 'why?' questions, so it's hard.

Thanks for all your comments -interesting discussion.

intothewest Sat 06-Aug-11 08:35:18

Interesting to read your experiences of pain/injury- DS gets angry if he hurts

himslf(very high pain threshold;so if he's hurt he's really hurt)It is hard to go

and help him,because that makes him angrier-Intersting to see we're not

alone !!

intothewest Sat 06-Aug-11 08:37:31

Sphil-To answer your point,DS does the same sometimes- but not often

Vinniesbisqwits Sat 06-Aug-11 11:18:35

DS cut his head open on something once and blood was pooring from his wound (notthing serious) he didnt react at all but also when hurt if it is painful doesnt seem to cry just gets angry, he cries if things bleed a lot though as he thinks he will die. hes the same when he saw me have a nosebleed wasnt worried I was hit in the face by accident just that mummy's bleeding shes going to die , takes lots reasurance blood doesnt always = death , just hurt. but unfortunately it is done with lack of empathy as he does say " I dont want you to die because who would cook my tea" for example.

someoneoutthere Sat 06-Aug-11 13:31:53

yes, ds does the same. He does it to check that what he is doing is ok, to check he is allowed to do something, or when he is about to do something cheeky (like the trampoline incident). He definitely can read me. He sees me angry or upset, he will give me a kiss. He starts giggling if he is thinking about something naughty or about to do something naughty, ie, spitting water on your face at the swimming pool. Ds is 6.1 and has classic autism.

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