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We need help with DS 3yrs9 months I'm broken

(13 Posts)
seacloud Sun 30-Sep-12 23:04:03

I am so sorry this is long
I had a bit of a meltdown with my DS 3yrs 9 months last week and have requested someone from HV team to visit. The earliest I could get them to come over is tomorrow.

I am nervous and scared but can't cope feeling as if I have a child that no one understands, is odd, has mental health signs or is mad. Or maybe it feels that I am going mad with him.

I feel in my heart of hearts that he has some specific thing that I don't know what it is but its there.
From the moment he could walk its been a living nightmare, He did not talk until he was 2 and a half b4 that going to any kind of party, stay and play session meeting new children would end in me leaving early strapping him in his car seat him screaming, crying and biting his hand and me in floods of tears.

I look back now over the last year and a half at all the times I would attempt to meet new mums and go to play sessions and he would get so over excited that trying to calm him down was an effort and a half. The hitting, pushing, the lack of social skills was so bad I'd leave as I felt judged.

Now he's talking its the repetitive questions, the odd routines, the freaking out if his toothbrush is not where it is. The constant questions, in the morning the running from one end of the house to another for about 5 minutes and then ok.
Now we can only wash his hands upstairs as the downstairs tap is too loud.
He can't wear a coat if its inside out - meltdown
Can't eat off a certain plate or fork - meltodown
We've had head butting, grinding teeth in his frustration:

I have 2 friends for play dates but it became so stressful and their children would end up being hurt I've now stopped them. I've stopped all stimulation we go to nursery and then home, no play dates, 20 min max tv before he starts running round hitting and punching.

I did go onto the National Autistic Soc Website, and cried with relief when I read things but I am in no way making a link i'm not a professional but we can't go on like this:

He's now at nursery 5 mornings a week and they say he is a delight and very bright loves talking about dinosaurs, planets, stories, animals, loves painting and music ( i know ) my DH just says he's hard work and needs strong stern discipline. However last week I told him my fears and have asked someone to come over and he even he thinks its getting to much.

I'm so so sorry I don't know where to begin when this person comes over but I'm scared the hitting, the head butting, we've had running off on a no of occasions, he even put his hand on the radiator pipe and burnt himself and he says it did not hurt but it became a huge blister that's when I called:
What do I say

I'm So tired i'm going to lie down but any words from anyone out there would be so welcomed. I have so little energy to manage my 20 month old DD and function with him. Is it me am I just too hard on him have I destroyed him.

SallyBear Sun 30-Sep-12 23:28:45

Seacloud I am sorry that you are having a tough time. I think that calling in the HV is a good idea. Have you done the CHAT checklist? here It may help you make more sense of things, though from what you have said you may want a referral to a paediatrician who specialises in behavioural problems.
There are a lot of mums/dads on here who have kids on the spectrum and are more than willing to help, advise and support you.
Two of my DS have ASD, but only one of them has a Statement of SEN. This has proven to be invaluable with giving him support in nursery and then in school.

coff33pot Sun 30-Sep-12 23:56:24

Firstly a big MN hug and an offer of brew or wine

Secondly well done on calling the HV to come over and chat you have done the right thing and no its not you that have caused his behaviours x

None of us are proffessionals here and so cannot tell you what is causing the issues but we can help prop you up when you are down, give you some ideas to try and help you along the way to maybe get a result of what is going on x

I know its hard but try to focus on one main thing in that you have been a great parent in noticing something is not quite right and are doing something about it. Turn upset into investigation smile

Get yourself a notebook and note down any issues you notice on a daily basis, how you dealt with them and the end result whether good or bad.

Get a separate one for school/nursery and anything they indicate as an issue jot it down. You could even approach the senco in the nursery and tell them that he is currently under an assessment as you have some concerns and would they be so good as to fill in a home book in the meantime to give to proffessionals.

DONT keep googling smile but do keep jotting down. That way you are not going to scare yourself silly and are going to keep to the main things going on with your DS x

DO look at behaviour strategies or search around on here for some to try. If they work note them down in the diary what they were and when you used them. That way you could well build your own system of support for your DS in the meantime, and spot any triggers that cause the meltdowns and avoid if possible.

I wouldnt stop playdates if you can help it but just have shorter visits if friends can help that way. It helps with social skills and best not to cut that off but use it to help you keep up with his issues and help him with them along the way.

I hope all goes well with the HV tomorrow. I would ask to be referred to a developmental peadiatrician as a starting point. Good luck x

VforViennetta Mon 01-Oct-12 00:40:02

Sorry you are having a hard time seacloud, but can I just say it sounds like you are a fabulous Mother, you haven't destroyed him, his behaviour is not your fault.

You obviously suspect him to be on the autistic spectrum, whether he is or he isn't children do come with their own personalities, parenting obviously has an impact, but the little buggers are not automatons that we remote control. Some smug buggers with inherently laid back and biddable children will lead you to believe that it's all their doing, it's so not true.

If at nursery he is a delight as you say and very bright and engaging, then if you are taking total blame for his bad behaviour, you have to take the total claim for his good and lovely behaviour iyswim.

Asking for help is a good thing, you need to know exactly what his difficulties are and have strategies to cope with them, from my experience stern doesn't really work that well and just winds everybody up into corners they cannot back down from.

I don't have any experience with children on the autistic spectrum, but would say 3 is a pita for a lot of children. My ds2 is almost 3 and by golly can he be a git sometimes, terrorsome threes rather than the terrible twos <shudder>.

I hope you get the help you need, if your HV doesn't provide this, your GP would be helpfull. smile.

Badvoc Mon 01-Oct-12 07:49:58

Coffpot is right (as usual)
Get a diary and jot down the issues you feel are a problem.
It may actually help you pinpoint triggers of behaviour you don't already know?
Also if at all possible and without him being aware of it, video some of the worst behaviour on your phone if you can.
This can be very helpful as kids usually behave very well when hcps are around! smile
Good luck x

Badvoc Mon 01-Oct-12 07:50:43

Also, be aware you can go to your gp, tell them everything you have jst told us and ask for him to be referred to a developmental paed.
You don't need a referral from the HV.

Triggles Mon 01-Oct-12 11:08:21

Jotting things down is also good because often you forget little things, and keeping a notepad of them will help you so you can possibly notice some patterns.

Yes, your GP (or in our case the school nurse) can refer to paediatrician, you don't necessarily need to go through the HV.

Also, if you have the opportunity to video some of the extreme behaviour, that never hurts.

bialystockandbloom Mon 01-Oct-12 16:38:34

Oh you poor thing, so many of here know how exhausting, stressful, and upsetting it is being in your position. Especially tiring with a younger one (I was in similar situation, ds with high functioning autism (aspergers), 5yo, and dd of 3yo. The first year of her life was extremely tiring.

Others are right - it is not because of you or your parenting.

It may be some time before you get any kind of definitive diagnosis (if any). Don't mean to depress you when I say this, but just wanted to forewarn you. And also, more importantly, to say that there is lots you can do while you wait for any help from the outside.

We have been doing a behavioural intervention for two years, which has given me some strategies which may be useful:

1. Give clear, unambiguous instructions. It sounds like he has good expressive language, but this doesn't always mean he understands (or cares) what you are expecting of him. So, when you want him to do something, tell him clearly and succinctly. Wait for him to respond before asking again.

If he tantrums for something, try not to respond to the tantrum (obviously if he's hurting himself you have to intervene!). But when he asks for somethign appropriately give it to him straightaway and give him massive praise/reward for asking nicely. (Or waiting, or giving you something, doing what you ask etc)

The key thing is to give attention and reward for good behaviour, and ignore the bad. Think Supernanny.

2. Try not to let him rule and control the household. Letting him continue with routines, having to do thigns a certain way etc does mean a quiet life in the short term but this can quickly become so rigid that a 'normal' life becomes almost impossible. Could try making tiny changes to things, and give him huge rewards for going with these changes. eg "tonight your toothbrush will be in your room, and wow, if you brush your teeth there we can play with your favourite toy/book/food" Choose a reward for him that you think will outweigh his resistence to the change in his toothbrush - so that he sees that if he goes with the change, he'll get something better.

3. Try and make thigns easy for yourself - don't take him to things which you know he'll find stressful (eg playgroups). He probably needs support to join in these things, so if you do have playdates or go to playgroups, keep the trips short, and see if you can get a game going with 1 or 2 other children which you know he will like and will join in with (probably something physical like hide & seek, duck duck goose, whats the time mr wolf)

4. Be completely consistent about thigns like walking nicely with you - if he has no sense of danger, you must insist he holds your hand when out. If he won't, then you don't go out (choose a suitable time to practice this one when you have lots of time!). When he does hold your hand, give him favourite reward immediately so again, he'll see that doing what you ask gives him soemthign good.

5. Could try something lke one of those small indoor trampolines to burn off energy.

Good luck with everything, and keep posting here. It does sound like there are some alarm bells here, so be assertive about getting further help and don't be fobbed off with 'wait and see' attitudes.

bialystockandbloom Mon 01-Oct-12 16:46:57

Also it might be worth looking up Contact A Family, a charity that supports and runs events for families with children with SN. In our area they do things like eg coffee mornings for parents, good place to meet other people and find other support services.

seacloud Mon 01-Oct-12 19:34:56

Wow thank you so much for all your wonderful words of wisdom it means so much to me.
I've made notes of all that has been said thank u bialystockandbloom and coff33pot and all of u who took the time to reply. The HV came by and basically I explained all what I said to u all and more, have a diary of things that have been going on. She stayed a long time and agreed that the next step is a ref to have someone assess him in a way just for us to have answers. In the mean time like what has been said above
consistency
got the indoor trampoline a few weeks ago - he goes nuts on it
Again like has been said easy on myself-
Small steps but also you're right in that can't be too rigid.
HV thought he needs loads of stimulation so have set activities in the house
maybe an organised space where all art stuff is etc.
There is so much but she did agree that we need to seek further advice and that has made me feel like a weight has been lifted.
Thank you for just replying sorry this is so short I have been trying to type this for ages i shall let u know what happens once I know
x x x

seacloud Mon 01-Oct-12 19:38:40

Oh and she agreed long play dates could lead to alot of issues and pressure, and yes coff33pot she thought maybe a mini play date at the park or swings for an hour and xplain to friend. This makes sense my nearest friend has seen what his behaviour can be but I txt her today and she said her DD loves my DS and so we can just do an hr so feel alot better. oh boy big hugs to u for your time x x

bialystockandbloom Mon 01-Oct-12 20:39:22

Glad the ball is rolling with the HV and referral, and that is at least one small weight off your shoulders.

DH/DPs are notoriously reluctant to admit anything is "wrong" with their offspring btw so you're also not alone there wink I felt like you, and hugely relieved when my DP finally agreed with me that there was something amiss and it wasn't my parenting.

One other thing I thought is finding some safe way for him to let off his anger, rather than headbutting etc. We haven't had this particular difficulty so I can't offer anythign specific, but it might be worth scouting around for others' experiences and advice on this.

AgnesDiPesto Mon 01-Oct-12 22:41:27

My DS has ASD and the pre school years were very very hard and exhausting.

You can start with using first / then with pictures under first and then to explain what you are going to do. Try and give warnings before you do something eg if going to do something new or want him to stop eg 1 more minute and then .... You can use a timer if that helps

And we did not start playdates until age 5 and then only for 1/2 hour and a planned activity eg icing biscuits. Better to start with small successes.

Do talk to the nursery about your concerns. They may be dismissive but give them a copy of MCHAT and ask them to keep an eye. Sometimes children look like they are chatting away but it is only to themselves not to the other children.

Homestart is a charity that can help you out at home.

Make sure you get a break too. Go out with your friends without the children so you don't get isolated. I stopped all the playgroups etc until DS was more tolerant and ready to play alongside others.

Sending your DH to a playgroup can be an eye opener. DH/DP often don't see their child with others the same age so are less able to see the differences.

Check to see if you have a local NAS or autism support group. You don't need a diagnosis to go along and other parents are the best source of advice for whats available.

Are you sure his speech is typical? You can self refer to speech therapy - some areas have drop in clinics, which can also speed up an autism assessment. I took DS and we got referred straight through.

Can you corner off a bit of his room with cushions etc to make a soft space and put him there when having meltdown? Put him somewhere safe and try and ignore him / make everything very boring / all toys out of sight then as soon as calms down lots of praise etc for being calm.

Burn could be a sensory problem or just an inability to communicate - DS did this on an oven and we only realised when he tried to wipe it off on DH jumper, he never cried at all. However when his communication improved so did his ability to tell us if he felt ill / was hurt. It wasn't just about having the language it was understanding he needed to say it out loud to someone.

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