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lock on autistic sons door......i hate being me sometimes(11 Posts)
my son is 8 and was diagnosed with aspergers 2 years ago. he is always just wandering off which is fair enough really-lots of kids do that. but 2 years ago, he absconded in the middle of the night while on holiday (he was returned after deciding to come back and asking a kind stranger to help). he left the caravan door wide open though so my 2 younger children could easily have left too, not understanding the dangers. we are back off on holiday next month and have purchased some door/window alarms so he will be safer.
a few days ago he decided to 'run away' because his 4 year old sister was following him around. he only made it to next doors garden as his brother told me what was happening. i have now hidden the door keys.
we have never had an open window in case he climbs out. we roast in the summertime, its awful but i cant risk his safety for that.
when he was 2 he would climb over his baby gate and twice hospitalised his younger brother due to his midnight shenanigans. i asked the health visitor for advice but she just said to keep an eye on him and its impossible to follow him around 24/7. she also said to keep all dangerous things out of his reach. well, the medicine and cleaning stuff were (and still are) in the highest cupboards but he would just climb onto the washing machine and get them out. cupboard locks dont work at all and havent since he was 3 and he would climb over the baby gates when he was younger so they are useless. anything can be dangerous to a child; he could swallow nail varnish or chew on batteries from the remotes-there is no end of danger with a child, especially an autistic one. how can i possibly lock up everything remotely dangerous??
i eventually put a lock on his bedroom door but, God, i loathed it. it was like he was a caged animal so i removed it about a 3 months later and he has been driving us all up the wall with worry ever since. a few weeks ago he touched his sister inappropriately while i was busy making breakfast (this was quite scary-he actually asked her to remove her knickers and rubbed her down there) and now i feel i cant trust him at all. we have put a door chain on his bedroom. it feels slightly better than a lock but i still hate it so much. i hate myself but cant think of anything else.....he is just uncontrollable especially when we are asleep and many of his actions are dangerous. i dont know what to do??
i have been reading up on it and someone said that you essentially 'lock' a baby in a cot for their own safety and this is no different but of course it is! i am taking away his free will at night. what if he has to pee at 4am and his door is locked? i feel like crying but cant think of anything else to keep him safe....
i mostly sleep downstairs due to the other halfs snoring (we have a large sofabed)-should i have my son sleep downstairs with me? but what if he silently sneaks off in the night/early morning? he will be in even more danger downstairs.
also, i feel terrible that his 6 year old brother (and to a lesser extent, his 4 year old sister) parent him so much, watching over him, taking responsibility when i am busy. they dont complain about it at all but i feel crappy none the less. the only alternative is to ask my son to follow me around doing chores etc but, again, he would have no freedom. so he stays doing what he is doing and the younger 2 naturally just take up the role of parent and every time, without fail (literally), my younger son comes running to me saying my eldest is hurting his sister etc.....he is absolutely fine when i am there, but is a stranger to me when im not. i just dont recognise the person he becomes when im not around.....and, yes, my younger ones are telling the truth-there is almost always evidence of what my eldest has done, he admits to most things and even when he doesnt, he is the worlds worst liar; none of what he comes out with makes any sense and his story keeps changing etc.....trust me, he does what they say he does.
any advice/thoughts? ......(please be kind-i am trying my best here and if anyone has a suggestion i am way more than happy to try it out) x
sorry for the length.
I'm no expert on SN children, but I know a fair few mothers, and you sound amazing. Well done - it sounds like gruelling work, but you're managing 3 kids with such skill and energy.
Have you talked to the SENCO? Schools must have strategies for dealing with this they can pass on. And it sounds like you need a break (who wouldn't), so I suggest you ask your GP to see if there are any local charities who can help with a grant to buy you some care time. One of my mates did this and it really helped.
. Not surprised you are exhausted. Sounds like you and your family desperately need help. I can think of two ways to maybe get a bit.
First, if you haven't already apply for an EHCP plan for your ds - regardless of there being any academic issues there are surely sufficient behavioural issues to warrant assessment - the ease with this route is whether difficulties are also observed at school. I guess I am thinking about possible need for residential school in the future - at one stage when things were really bad we were thinking about this for ds2 but things have improved with speciailist day school provision. For my two appropriate support at school has been absolutely key in improving the behaviour at home. It seems daft now - given the level of school issues we had- that we had no idea of how stressed ds1 was in mainstream until he was out of that environment.
Second ask social services for an assessment in the view of getting respite for yourself AND his siblings. It won't be a lot but might help ease the situation. They were also able to put us in contact with a charity who gave us some good parenting advice and who also would have worked with the ds's if we had wanted.
The other thing that occurs to me is if ADHD been ruled out ? - if not I would investigate this as the impulsiveness sounds more ADHD than ASD and medication might help in this situation.
Forgot to ask if you have also applied for DLA for him? This might help fund some extra care for him (although finding someone prepared to deal with a child with behavioural issues is a nightmare). Also opens doors with respect to council play-schemes for children with SN's - again only a few hours but might give your family a bit of a respite.
thank you for your messages. i forgot to mention that he and his siblings are home educated (this is due to him receiving zero support in school).
is there any help i can access outside of school? thank you again x
I think for a start you cold probably put the siblings in school to give them a bit of a break, how on earth do they cope not getting a break??? i think if they were in school it would do them the world of good, a bit of freedom away from him.
I dont think its a good idea keeping a child locked in a room at all, you will have to get a locked cupboard to put meds in this is what we have done, also knives can be hidden this is what we do. I know its hard work but i have found to get my son out as much as possible, it does help if you have a hig fence around your back garden where he cannot escape and where no harm will come to him.
I also think you should get onto your gp to get him some meds, i know its super hard, we have to be on our toes all the time, its draining but its the way it is, you just gorra keep a close eye on them at all times.
Get to your Gp see if you can get some meds xx
Would definitely look at schooling for the younger 2 to give them a break and a childhood. I have one ds dx autism and one older dd who I'm well aware doesn't get a look in at home! We are however VERY lucky she has 2 brilliant friends whose houses are like 2nd homes to her I'm forever grateful to their parents they give her an opportunity to be a child instead of an extra parent. You sound like your doing an excellent job, maybe look at short breaks for your son know it's hard to let go, but for the good of all it maybe necessary
I second asking for a carers assessment - you need some respite and your other dc do too. I used our respite to take my other dc to the library to the park or to get a milkshake somewhere which would have all been impossible with their brother in tow. Just wanted them to do some normal things that their friends did routinely.
re the lock on the door - like you I didn't like the idea of locking in ds but it was for his own safety. We ended up cutting his door in half stable style so he could see out and we could see in. the lock was a catch that was on the outside at floor level so that he couldn't reach it. I had worried that a key could be lost and in the event of a fire it would take longer to get the door open. he also ended up having medication which kept him asleep which helped him to be a bit calmer by day and also ensured his siblings had an uninterrupted night's sleep.
For breaks away we house swapped with the PILs - they came to ours to look after the dc so they kept their routine with familiar people and we got a weekend away in free accommodation with a freezer filled with treats
Do you think something similar may be doable?
Agree put the siblings in school to give them a bit of a break is worth thinking about. Even when the dc school were awful truly with eldest, and I was considering HE, they were actually really supportive to dd.
I told the staff that she was a young carer, and outlined what her life was like at home, and they made sure she got some extra attention. For example, she kept getting headaches so the medical room lady was great with her, she did all the extra-curricular activities going, she had extra time reading with the TA because we weren't able to do it at home. Her teacher even gave her a set of really posh felt tips to keep after hers got wrecked (and yes, I could've replaced them, but having her teacher's special 'school' pens was far better than mum going to Tesco)
Medication-melatonin- was useful for dc1 as well. your door/window alarms are a really good idea. So are baby monitors- lets you keep an 'ear' on him. We put the burglar alarm on at night so if dc1 went downstairs it would go off (I appreciate that's not an option for you cos of the snoring). Nail varnish is optional anyway - on a more serious note, you can get some household cleaning products which are more or less non-toxic. You can get stuff like a rechargable remote which goes into a cradle rather than having normal batteries- but check the model, some do have removable batteries, like some mobile phones do. We once tried a toddler tag but it didn't suit us. I guess if you're really desperate even cctv would be worth considering. And of course if you have DLA it pays for some of these things.
The other helpful thing I did was visit a friend whose ds has very severe autism. Her house was fabulous- high fence around the garden, inside totally minimalist, not much stuff-essential equipment only- like you'd do if you were in a holiday cottage or a caravan, simple furnishings, no nicknacks, pretty much no dangers to be seen anywhere. Other than the TV, which was up on a wall and securely bolted. Like this
And she kept the kitchen locked when not actually cooking- so her dc actually liked to go in there at those times, for the novelty value. Basically a giant playpen but in quite a stylish way
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