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How do others deal with their ASD child?

(27 Posts)
GossipWitch Thu 08-Sep-11 17:33:34

I am trying to get my ds1 diagnosed for Asperger's syndrome, I've researched a lot of behavioural difficulties and he ticks every box. I was more or less wondering how everyone else deals with meltdowns, calming techniques and sibling interaction, (3yr old db) and other things that could help me at home. He wont eat chewy meat or cheese, has a really hard time sleeping and sometimes goes into a depressive mode when he's had a tough day, ATM I am dealing with the depressive stuff ok but I am worried about the future, its mainly behavoiral problems that I need advise for. Thank's in advance.

silverfrog Thu 08-Sep-11 18:00:26

how old is your ds1?

how you deal with the various issues you highlighted will be depend on a fw things: why he is doig what he is doing, what you want him to do instead, and how much you can/want to adapt things (where practical) to help him out.

on the diet side, I would overhaul the meals I was giving him, tbh. my dd1 was never a fan of chewy meat either - I used mince a lot of the time, put eg chicken breasts in the blender to chop them really fine to make burgers/sausages out of, etc.

both my girls are dairy free so cheese not an issue here, but again, I would try to side step it for now - it take sthe heat out of mealtimes.

sibling wise, what are the main issues?

and as for calming techniques - what does your ds1 like? will he seek out deep pressure hugs, for eg, or prefer a space on his own? lots of people here have had success with both methods (and others!) - you coudl create a safe space fo rhim - a play tent int he corner of a room, where he could go when he is feeling anxious, or if he prefers pressure maybe a weighted blanket, or some sensory play rolling him up in a blanket and squashing him a bit (it is a recognised exercise, honest! grin)

coff33pot Thu 08-Sep-11 21:41:35

My DS is either sensory seeking or just plain wants out of the world.

When just home from school or trip out I make a "special bed" with two huge fleeces on the sofa. He is wrapped up to his chin and loves it. I have also bear hugged him wrapped like a sausage in it when he is on a meltdown the feel of the fleece and the pressure of the hug seems to wan him a little and also he is less likely to hurt you wrapped up.

If he is hiper in otherwords totally overloaded we have a trampoline, pogo stick, skates and balance ball for him inside the house. This helps with excess energy and also find it helps to have a burst on these things before you want him to do something more concentrating like reading etc.

GossipWitch Thu 08-Sep-11 21:43:46

He's a very large 9 yr old (in 12 yr clothes) he does the obvious rough and tumble with his little brother but doesn't know when to stop, can get really rough at times and is always trying to trip him (and classmates) over, he doesn't recognise that ds2 is crying because he's hurt whilst playing, and ds1 giggles and carries on thinking its funny. He's learnt some facial expressions through positive play and things I'm trying to teach him too, however he only really knows 3. He also seems to really enjoy ds2 kicking and slapping and laying over him, which is obviously behaviour I want to discourage ds2 from doing.

At the moment I'm grounding things like laptop himself e.t.c but it just doesn't seem to sink in and apart from the obvious forgetfulness of that object/himself being grounded, but as soon as he gets it back he's at it again, his main behaviours that I really want to change is his violence towards me and ds2 and others and his shouting at me and he can be very rude at times, and obviously a sensible sleeping pattern.

I have literally just learnt that he likes to be swaddled in his duvet, ds2 just hit him with a car possibly at ds1s request, and I ran up to try the rolling in a duvet thing (I have heard of this before) to calm him he was giggling and instantly calmed, (may have to hide a duvet downstairs for squishing purposes lol)

he has a space in his toy cupboard where he hides to get away from things or he'll curl up in any small area (with a duvet), he also likes to run around the back garden or in the green outside my home with out shoes on, lots of holey socks, and he really enjoys the laptop, wii, ds-when hes in the mood, and dvds.

As for food I'm really not too concerned, he does eat vegetables very well and gets his protein from eggs, fish and the processed and minced stuff that he likes.

To be honest I really am not sure if I am doing the right thing by him, I always seem to say the wrong things to him and it upsets him, you know like the how do you think I/they feel when you?.... his answer is I dont know do I? or why are you dong that?, look at me when I'm nagging you, and so on and so on, (no wonder he has his depressive moments. hmm)

I have been to parenting classes, and have tried to apply what I can to suit his needs. I am willing to try anything to make his life easier I know I wont be able to change him, and its me and my attitudes that need to change in order to help him.

GossipWitch Thu 08-Sep-11 21:44:14

sorry about the essay blush

Ineedalife Thu 08-Sep-11 21:46:11

We use a yellow and red card system [like footballers] to help Dd3 [possible AS] to understand that her behaviour is unacceptable. We are not very good at consequences but to be fair she generally gets it after being show a yellow card.

We use a visual timetable for getting ready for school in the morning[was a major issue].

We give loads of time warnings for moving between activities, such as 10 minutes left on the computer, 5 minutes left, 3 minutes 2, 1. We find this helps her to be ready to move on.

We encourage her to go in her room or our loft room if she needs space away from people rather than us all pussy footing around her and getting shouted/growled at.

Hope some of that helps, I am sure I can think of more but prob won't be back on her until tomorrow

Ineedalife Thu 08-Sep-11 21:46:46

Oh meant to say Dd3 is 8, how old is your DS?

GossipWitch Thu 08-Sep-11 21:55:58

Yes I have to give ds the 5 min countdown too or its meltdown central, not good for school mornings.

Ineedalife Thu 08-Sep-11 22:07:41

Sorry x posted before but see that your Ds is a similar age to Dd3.

GossipWitch Sat 10-Sep-11 10:42:08

does anyone else have any ideas? quilt swaddling ended with him lashing out. sad

Claw3 Sat 10-Sep-11 10:51:22

Gossip, all the banging and crashing that he likes does seem to be sensory ds is the same, he loves rough play.

I noticed that you ran up with a quilt in the midst of him playing rough and tumble, by this time he was probably very hyper. The idea is to do it when he is calm, hence reducing the need for him to engage in rough and tumble, not during iyswim?

Ds has lots of things to do which OT has given him which i can list, if thats any help?

GossipWitch Sat 10-Sep-11 12:33:47

ohhh I'll try anything, he can be a handful when he's hyper.

catpaws Sat 10-Sep-11 12:43:32

My DS was diagnosed two years ago and we're still very much learning how to deal with the issues you raise. After his diagnosis we received parenting classes from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). They have helped us better understand what we can do to make meltdowns less likely. The most useful thing they helped me realise was that, in general, his extreme behaviour was not a choice but the consequence of him being overwhelmed with anxxiety and frustration (he gets very annoyed with himself when he does lose control), so they gave us tips on helping him feel safe and calm, eg ... we now give our DS countdowns before asking him to stop an activity (e.g. -you have three minutes until we are going to the shops) - this has had a really positive effect. There is a really good book on managing meltdowns in young children (The Red Beast - controlling anger in children with Aspergers) - it's on Amazon. It is written in a way that makes it useful for both children and parents to read it. Our son found it reassuring as it helped him realise other children also struggle to manage their anger and gave him practical tips. We follow the advice in there, which basically says get the child to a space on their own, give them things to help them calm down (e.g. we had a lego box installed in a room at his last school that was designated his safe area) and leave them to themselves for a while. It has taken a lot of effort and reminding, but he eventually got to the point where he was choosing to leave the class and go to the room when he felt he could no longer cope with people. As our DS has got older (he is now 12) the meltdowns have got less frequent (although he is now taller and stronger than me, so me keeping calm is less straightforward). His ways of getting calm have also changed - he now uses classical music to help him restore equilibrium. When he does have a meltdown, we talk later in the day so he can help us understand what led up to it (it can often be a build up of lots of small things that make him anxious or frustrated - and often things that other children would not get bothered about). Another thing we have recently found useful - he goes on our trampoline and stays there until he feels calm again. I can't help with advice on siblings - my two are constantly arguing and getting cross with each other, so I look forward to what else comes up on this thread!

Claw3 Sat 10-Sep-11 13:38:47

Here goes, things that helped with ds, we try to do sensory diet twice every day for between 15-30 minutes each time.

This is just the bit to deal with wanting to crash and bang into things, i have another list for other things, which i also do, which im happy to share if you need it, but for starters, here is the one that you have already been doing from ds's sensory diet.

"Sausage roll


1. to calm or arouse through pressure and active movement.
2. to improve awareness of body parts.

Method: Roll your child tightly in a sheet or duvet on the floor and hold, keeping the head free.

Your child is the sausage which you are pressing firmly into the roll as you apply deep, gentle pressure to the back.

Now wait for the child to unroll out the sheet/duvet. They might need a little help at first."

Rough housing


1. To improve body contact and interaction.
2. To help improve eye contact.
3. To improve tolerance of another person.
4. To increase confidence.

Methold: Wrestle gently with your child on the floor, trying to move them through a good range of different positions, maintaining close body contact. Try to establish as much eye contact with your child as possible.

I will shorten the others, as im sure you get the idea of the purpose from the above examples.

Spinning around in a swivel chair, first in one direction, then the other for 30 seconds, pause for 10-15 seconds before changing directions. You could do this without a chair also.

Heavy lifting or backpacks filled with books for example.

strecthing, ds holds onto the arm of the settee, i hold his ankles and pull him, a bit like being strecthed on a rack!

Deep pressure, while sitting, push down on the shoulders. Big bear hugs.

Jumping and stomping. We make a game of marching around the house and stomping or jumping over things.

Pushing on the wall with hands ie trying to push it down and also with feet.

The trampoline, ds loves it and so do i! jumping on the trampoline requires little effort for me and is brilliant for giving him input.

We also have pillow fights and i get a pillow and sit on ds, he loves it! Choppy massage, is another of his favourites.

You dont have to do all of the above all in one go, just a couple. Ds's favourites are the choppy massage, trampoline, sitting on him and stretching him. He hates the heavy lifting, so we dont do it.

You would do the above at a time when you are both calm and not when he is in the middle of something, id be pissed off if someone tried to wrap me up in a duvet while in the middle of watching X-factor grin

I also have a bit from OT about giving clear instructions, which again im happy to type here for you, if you feel it might help, dont want to overwhelm you with info!

Claw3 Sat 10-Sep-11 13:59:59

Should also add i have some relaxation exercises from CAMHS which i use to help sleep, if thats any help too!

Also oral, tactile and smell sensory diet!

In fact i have whole boxes of info grin

GossipWitch Sat 10-Sep-11 14:07:18

Oh please do, I'm thinking with ds1 wanting ds2 to hit him all the time that he would enjoy a choppy massage, (remembers how much enjoyment ds1 got out of toddler massages hmm) I do have to be careful about the wrestling and pillow fights as he doesn't know when to stop. And I am planning on investing in a trampoline, after ds2s birthday, but then it'll be very close to winter then ? may have to invest in it sooner. smile

LeninGrad Sat 10-Sep-11 14:08:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GossipWitch Sat 10-Sep-11 14:08:56

Please claw with the relaxation exercises, sleep in a major thing in our home, (fed up with sharing bed with ds2)

LeninGrad Sat 10-Sep-11 14:10:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGrad Sat 10-Sep-11 14:11:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Claw3 Sat 10-Sep-11 14:23:24

Gossip, jumping on the trampoline in the rain and snow, adds to the sensory experience, if you can get him to do it grin Pick and choose which ones you think will work best for your ds. Ds absolutely loves the stretchy one too, he cant get enough, others he hates or finds boring! (i will dig out of my box, the relaxation techs and type it up for you, warning its going to be long!)

Lenin it has worked for us too, i can notice the difference smile Im quite lucky, in as much as my other children are a lot older than ds, so dont really spark ds on his running around like an over excited chimp and they can handle being jumped on, although they do find it annoying. Although been jumped on has almost stopped now.

GossipWitch Sat 10-Sep-11 14:38:28

And just noticed another thing with the last post, ds1 jumps on practically any male who is bigger than him that come into the house, i.e. my brothers, my dad, his dad, and male friends. And I thought it was because he wanted to be man of the house!

Claw3 Sat 10-Sep-11 14:53:12

Relaxation exercises

After a couple of weeks daily practice under your supervision, your child will have developed enough skill to use these excercises to get rid of unwanted body tension (I still have to do this with ds, so it might be something that your ds will always need help with)

Set aside 20 minutes a day to do these relaxation exercises with your child.

Try to arrange to be on good terms with your child when you do these exercises so your child looks forward to them.

Do them at the same time and in the same place every day.

Before you begin, remove all distractions (by turning off bright lights, the radio etc) and ask your child to loosen any tight clothes (like belts, ties, shoes)

Ask your child to lie on a bed or recline in a comfortable chair with the eyes lightly closed.

Before and after each exercises ask your child to breathe in deeply and exhalf slowly three times while saying the word 'relax' to themself.

At the end of each exercise praise your child by saying 'well done;' or 'you did that exercise well' or some other form of praise.

Repeat each exercise twice.

Throughout the exercises speak in a calm, relaxed, quiet voice.


Close your hands into fists. Then allow them to open slowly. Notice the change from tension to relaxation in your hands and allow this change to continue further and further still, so the muscles of your hands become more and more relaxed.


Bend your arms at the elbow and touch your shoulders with your hands. Then allow them to return to the resting position. Notice the change from tension to relaxation in your hands and allow this change to continue further and further still, so the muscles of your arms become more and more relaxed.


Hunch your shoulders up to your ears. Then allow them to return to the resting position. same as above about notice the change etc


Point your toes downwards. Then allow then to return to the resting position. Then same as above.

Point your toes upwards. same as above.


Take a deep breath and hold it for 3 seconds, tensing the muscles in your stomach as you do so. Then breathe out slowly. Same as above.


Clench your teeth tightly together. Then relax. Same as above.

Wrinkle your nose up, then relax. Same as above.

Shut your eyes tightly, then relax. Same as above.


Now that youve done all your muscle exercises check that all areas of your body are as relaxed as can be. Think of your hands and allow them to relax a little more. Think of your arms, shoulders etc, etc, etc.


Breathe and out slowly one, two three, four, five, six and again. Repeat 3 times.


Imagine you are lying on a beautiful sandy beach and you feel the sun warm your body.

Make a picture in your mind of the golden sand and the warm sun.
As the sun warms your body you feel more and more relaxed. Repeat this 3 times.

The sky is clear, clear blue, above you can see a small white cloud drifting away into the distance.

As the cloud drifts away you feel more and more relaxed. Repeat this 3 times.

As the sun warms your warms your body, you feel more and more relaxed. As the clouds drift away, you etc, etc, etc.

Wait 30 seconds, open your eyes, ready to face the rest of the day, relaxed and calm.

Blimey i almost fell asleep typing that grin

Have to say ds found it very difficult to keep still for 20 minutes to start with, so we did a quicker version or his brain just sending a message and imagining the message travelling down his arms, through his stomach, down his legs, until it reached his feet. Then the same thing to other body parts. You could adjust to what you feel your ds could cope with or tolerate the best.

We also changed the visualising, ds wanted to imagine me and him riding unicorns through the sky.(going to sleep with happy thoughts really helped with nightmares)

We also had a months worth of Melatonin to induce sleep and reset his body clock.

Claw3 Sat 10-Sep-11 15:02:17

Would also add ds sleeping better is NOT just because of the relaxation techs, its been a combination of getting enough sensory input during the day, reducing his anxieties during the day, relaxation techs, resetting his body clock etc, etc. By no means a magic 'cure'.

Ds's need for sensory input became so much, he jumped off of a 10ft ledge and knocked his two front teeth out, at the time i thought he was just a 'dare devil' and a 'climber'

GossipWitch Sat 10-Sep-11 18:41:58

Yes ds1 is very much a climber and I often have to untangle him from bushes and trees (I did mention he's unco-ordinated right), luckily I was also a climber as a child and am fairly supple still so if needs be I can climb up to get him, lol.

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