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1-2-3 Magic for autistic children?

(12 Posts)
CheerfulSoul Thu 06-Nov-14 13:32:21

Our child psychologist has assessed my 6yr old DS as having autistic traits. He doesn't have autism but meets some of the criteria - mainly around uncontrolled anger, violence and complete lack of social skills. He has suggested a 1-2-3 Magic parenting course for us. We failed with Triple P, after a year of trying very hard.

Does anyone know about 1-2-3 Magic? Is it likely to be any help for a child so extreme, where Triple P failed? I believe we fail to control our DS because consequences mean nothing to him. When the "red mist" comes down, he doesn't care what you threaten or implement because he's so angry he can't control himself.

How is counting to 3 going to help when the threat that follows is of no consequence to him and he will get more satifaction from beating the whatsit out of you anyway?!

PolterGoose Thu 06-Nov-14 14:06:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 06-Nov-14 16:15:36

I could never do the counting technique with either of my spectrummy kids.

Dd 1 who has no diagnosis but was extremely challenging as a child would have just laughed at me and pushed me every time to get to 3.

Dd3 who has Asd would have got very anxious and wouldnt have responded because she would have been a flapping hysterical panicking mess!!

But I agree with polter you might have to jump through all the hoops before you get any real help.

Have you ever kept a diary of your Ds's issues, what causes them (if you know) and how you deal with them (to show consistancy.)

My diary was the first thing that made a paediatrician sit up and listen to what we had been trying to say for a really long time.

Good luck smile

CheerfulSoul Thu 06-Nov-14 16:49:18

Thanks for your comments! Yes, we have diaries and video footage and all sorts of things, reviewing what he does and how we respond and what the outcome is, both written and on video. We've been pushing for help with him for 4 years now and we just get sent on yet another parenting course! No one seems to get it unless they can see it (which is us, the grandparents and school). Professionals seem to assume it's nothing of note. We will keep pushing.

As you say, we should try the 1-2-3 Magic anyway, as it will be of use with our DD (who already responds well to counting + consequence). I suspect our DS will shout "3" for us and then proceed to hurl shoes at our heads as normal! grin

kleinzeit Thu 06-Nov-14 17:25:30

It might depend a bit on who is doing the course. I did a straightforward “positive parenting” course when DS was five and waiting to be diagnosed and it did help. The HV who ran the course understood that with DS’s ASC-ish problems I was going to have to do some unusual things, she was very encouraging that I should feel my way and not push DS too hard. But if you get someone who’s very much “follow all the rules to the letter and it WILL work” it might be counter-productive.

I could do counting with my DS because he found numbers soothing(!) and it gave him time to think, but kids vary, and kids with ASCs vary more than most! What I found worked best (as many others here have!) was Explosive Child. We can do our best to prevent outbursts but when things go wrong and the red mist descends there’s nothing to do but batten down the hatches, try to keep everyone safe and move on when calm is restored. One of the most useful things I learnt was that it’s perfectly possible to be very consistent without being in the least bit strict. The other useful thing I learnt was to adjust things so you’re only ever using a very few negative consequences (if any!) in a week. So I could consistently decide to not react to any discipline problem that wasn’t a danger to life or limb grin and that turned out to be very effective.

My DS does have an Asperger’s diagnosis but the child psych said that technically DS might not quite tick all the boxes! And when there is a problem treating DS as if his problems are ASC ones (and not attention seeking or poor motivation or whatever) really works. I also went to the NAS sessions about communication and behaviour management for kids with ASCs. Those were stellar because they focussed on the things that were making DS (and the others!) kick off and what we could do about it. And they accepted that there were going to be days when you could do your best but realistically nothing was going to work.

CheerfulSoul Thu 06-Nov-14 20:21:12

Oh thank you kleinzeit that is really helpful. Sounds like you are in a similar position to us, except that you appear to have accepted and worked with your situation. I think we're still expecting a magic fix from someone, which probably doesn't exist. We have read the Explosive Child and found some helpful things in there but we still feel like there should be a fix for the problem, rather than coping strategies, as you suggest.

That is so useful to hear you say that you are treating your DS as ASC even though he doesn't tick all the boxes. Our Child Psychiatrist also suggested this approach, expecially with school, as he felt we'd get more of the right kind of help.

The NAS was also something we'd considered using so it's helpful to hear that it was good.

Thanks again for all your advice! smile

Ineedmorepatience Thu 06-Nov-14 20:53:21

Hi again cheerful we were also told by a mental health practitioner at CAMHS to try A techniques which are recommended for children with ASD with Dd3 before she had a dx!

This was useful in 2 ways, firstly because the strategies improved our family life immeasurably and secondly it helped to prove that she does have ASD becuause standard strategies for manageing challenging behaviour had never worked and had just made Dd3 incredibly anxious.

Using visuals changed everything for us, especially our yellow and red card system which we use like football referees.
Dd3 understands straight away that if we are showing her a yellow card then we want her to stop whatever it is she is doing!

She is very verbal and very bright but managing her behaviour can be very challenging due to her ASD and her not understanding the impact she can have on others.

Definitely try some ASD strategies smile

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 06-Nov-14 21:03:14

We have used 123magic with all four of our children.
It was less effective with the autistic child than it was with the neurotypical children.
However, it was more effective with the autistic child than any other strategy we tried.

TheFirstOfHerName Thu 06-Nov-14 21:05:24

I also attended a course called 'Modifying behaviour in children with additional needs' as DS2's combination of ASD & ADHD can be challenging.

Sameshitdifferentusername Thu 06-Nov-14 21:44:35

I tried 123 magic with my (possibly aspergers) DD but she would just yell "I'm sending it back to zero!" at me grin

neverputasockinatoaster Sun 09-Nov-14 13:40:47

When ds was three and before we knew he had AS a HV told me I 'just needed to use/123 magic'.
Each time out took hours. I was bitten, kicked, hit.
If he was doing something undesirable and I began counting he would spiral into a meltdown because he was so anxious that he would no be able to conform and that the time out would happen.
It was the most soul destroying period of my life. I felt like such a failure.
Life improved considerably when I binned the book.
I do admit that I took on board not getting drawn into the confrontation, staying calm and not arguing with him.

DishwasherDogs Sun 09-Nov-14 22:12:55

We tried 123magic when ds was 6.
It gave him and us a chance to calm down, but apart from that it did nothing.
3 months after starting it, ds was still going into time out as often as he was when we started. The counting definitely wound him up.

At red mist times, we tend to take ds upstairs (bodily sometimes) so he's not a danger to anyone else. If he threatens, hurts or swears at us we leave the room and go back in when he calms down a bit. Usually he wants to do something active or bury himself under duvets and cushions while we sit quietly with him.

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