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Anxiety (Poss ASD) pls help! Tips on getting ready in morning...(16 Posts)
Our DD (5) is being assessed for ASD. We have huge problems with her getting ready to go out, whether it be school, swimming lesson on Sat morning, out for the day. She just won't get ready! Lots of tantrums, v "busy" into everything, getting everything out and making mess, shouting, aggression, trears. After lots of stress, she'll the. Get ready at v v last min, literally minutes before we are due to leave. We've tried rewards but doesn't seem to have an impact and worked for about a week. We've tried changing where she gets dressed. Worse thing is going in bathroom and when she eventually does, she may plant herself on toilet for up to 25 minutes.
We have to be up at 6:30 in order for her to be ready for 8:10 for school everyday and even that is a struggle. We may have to get up slightly earlier.
She is fine having breakfast, it is the getting ready in bathroom and dressed. After that she seems okay (by her standards) seems happy but must have a level of anxiety as she struggles with Selective Mutism around family, friends and school.
Any tips greatly appreciated please!
Also, any others experience this with their children, diagnosed with ASD? Is it trait of PDA? Just anxiety related?
She is v "busy" at times like this, will rummage through drawers, toys, get tiny objects out, marbles, stones (which she loves and kind of collects). She won't concentrate on getting ready at times like this and we have to remind her it's not time to play, she can play again later. Our house is so messy when she's like this. She's in to everything! Before social events in past, she will rummage through kitchen drawer to find any loose change and get all the coins out she can find and play with them - this is when we are trying to get out the front door!! Is this a security thing, ADHD/ADD/ASD behaviour I wonder?
Thanks all. Apologies for long post! Xx
We used a visual timeline to help Dd3 get ready in the mornings (If she is demand avoidant then this might not work) Dd3 is demand avoidant but it did work for us because it gave her control over getting ready, before the timeline I would have to tell her the steps she needed to follow eg put your socks on, brush your teeth. She perceived each of those instructions as a demand and therefore resisted them.
Once we had the visual timeline she could choose the order that she got ready although she generally followed a pattern and liked the steps to be vertical rather than horizontal for some reason.
Once she had completed the steps she was ready and had done it independently, which again kept her in control.
If your Dd is focussed on getting ready there might be less messing and fiddling but obviously there are no guarantees.
Thanks so much, did you make yours or buy online?
The other day, we tried a PDA strategy of giving her the choice of what to do first in bathroom (toilet, Quick face wash, teeth) and she just stood there and said she didn't know what to do. So that didn't seem to work.
She does seem quite demand avoidant. Can anyone give some examples of there demand avoidant behaviours pls?
Also, does anyone else experience this busy, into everything behaviour at times?
It does sound like anxiety.
If breakfast is fine do that after getting up. Try not to share why just flip the morning.
To be honest 6:30 for 8:10 is really NOT that long for a child to wake, wash, dress, eat and pack for the day. I'd get up at 6 and give yourselves a bit more lea way.
How do you travel to school? Can you create a hook/positive for the journey (e.g. Screen time in the car)?
Haha!!! So funny, sounds like my DD.
Thanks, yes think we need more time in morning but she needs a lot of sleep and hard to make her bedtime any earlier to make up for it. Suppose only half hour. In Summer, she wakes so early when the mornings are light but I have had to wake her at 6:30 since Xmas hols.
I will play in fact that she can listen to music in car, she enjoys that.
I've tried to say she'll have more time after she's ready which should really work for her but doesn't seem to make a difference. Think I'll keep on mentioning that to her though.
Sand timer sometimes helps her with toothbrushing. Racing worked for a while but again, sometimes these things can make her anxious and she doesn't like them, it varies.
Perhaps may try visual timetable.
We do end up helping her a lot. She tends to refuse to get ready and then will rush around in final 10mins. Spends waaay to long on toilet too!
I do a lot of working towards positives. "Clean your teeth and then there's time for pancakes..... When you've finished eating get your shoes and bag out then there's time for tv..... Shoes on and out to the car do you want an apple to eat while you iPad in the car?" Blah blah.
I help at the first sign of stress not the escalated behaviour. It NEVER helps ds to become upset. If you start the n your own mind with the idea you will do everything, it is easier.
My DD is similar in the mornings and I actually posted for advice about it last year.
Things that have made a difference:
Visuals - homemade. She has a schedule of activities to complete and the reward of collecting little pictures of an animal she likes to stick on a picture I've made.
Allowing as much time as possible. I wake her earlier. This has helped reduce my stress.
Trying to stay as calm as possible myself.
I do find that if DD is on an even keel and in a good place emotionally, things tend to be smoother in the mornings. When she's tired or not feeling great for whatever reason, the transitions around getting up and ready are so much harder for her.
Ds is 5, ASD. What I would change about your morning routine if it was my child would be the break out the bathroom stuff. So face wash would happen in the kitchen after breakfast, perhaps tooth brushing as well. Have something fun planned for after the wee so not tempted to stay forever.
I get ds dressed in the living room while he's watching whatever he wants to. I still have to explicitly tell him he can continue watching while I dress him.
He also loves silliness so we use that to motivate or defuse things if it's getting fraught. One of Dh's things is pretending to put an item of ds's clothing on. Or I'll pretend I've lost a piece of clothing and it's behind me! I still play peekaboo through putting his tops on because it keeps him in a good mood and cooperative. And it's not all the time. It builds up goodwill and a calm normality and so there's often just cooperation now.
Our visual timeline was home made.
I wouldnt worry too much about independence for now. She is probably mentally preparing herself for the day ahead and may not have headspace for independence too.
This morning went quite well to begin with, she actually came to get ready when asked! She did delay by having a huge tantrum over how her tights felt so ended up wearing socks and then rushing last minute.
We'll try again tomorrow.
She went to sleep at 7:15 and I woke her around 6:20. She's exhausted and irritable today but I think she had a restless night.
Some of this behaviour might be part of being a stubborn 5 year old rather than all being related to ASD. Although obviously it's good to have strategies to make things easier whatever the cause.
I have an NT 5 year old and a 7 year old with ASD. What you describe about your daughter in the morning sounds like how my NT 5 year old can behave.
This morning my child with ASD got ready happily but our 5 year old had a series of big tantrums. He refused to put on his socks this morning and cried loudly lying on the floor for 5 minutes. He might have tantrums if I give him the wrong colour cup etc. He was taken out to the car roaring crying because we couldn't let him play in his room. There was other tantrums too but I can't even recall what they were about as they were over such insignificant pointless things. Sometimes reward charts work with him but not so much when he's having a grumpy morning.
When my child with ASD was about 5 I'd just dress him myself and spoon feed him if he wasn't cooperating as it just made things easier for everyone. Now at 7 he does everything himself in the morning but it just took him a little bit longer to do these things happily himself.
If my child with ASD is having a bad morning I mainly use distraction. I play his favourite song at breakfast and he kind of zones out enjoying it while he eats. It stops him thinking of reasons to complain. If I spot his mood is about to turn I can normally drag him out of it but starting to talk about something that will interest him and this distracts him.
Thank you. DD was off sick yesterday and so we kind of expected a bad morning today, before she returned to school. It was pretty horrendous! She won't come near us when we try to help her (she seems to often find people "smelly" up close!) and couldn't stand the feel of her tights around her tummy and the seams around her toes, even though they are comfort seams.
Lots of upset over everything. Music has helped her get in bath, perhaps I'll try music in her bedroom while she gets ready. She enjoys listening to music in car on way to school.
On plus side, she decided to go into school through gate to classroom on her own today, like her friends! Usually gets met by her teacher in office as she initially found that too much for her.
Hopefully things will get easier. My 7 year old (with ASD) used to find the mornings much harder. He frequently got upset outside the school and we would have to spend time calming him down while all the other children were already gone into the class. I used to find it very upsetting and stressful as I hated leaving him st school like that. Everyday I was on edge hoping it would be a good day and walking on eggshells trying to keep him happy. Things have really improved.
I'm not sure is it just that he's a bit older or is it because of all the help he's got since his diagnosis or a combination of both. He likes going to school these days. Things aren't perfect, I do have to manage his mood a bit in the mornings but it's really not so bad anymore. He walks into the class happily everyday with all the others.
We find audiobooks great in the car too- silence from both children as they happily listen. I got them from the library.
We actually get dd up quite late - with 40 min to get ready. Other dc get up 30-40 min earlier. It means we can have a peaceful morning with the other dc, and when dd wakes up we just do it all quickly. Dh and I really have to 'manage' her. Choices for us involve only two options. Things can be a race (who is downstairs first) depending on her mood. Eating breakfast to a timer.
We use a visual timetable to start the routine. It's far from perfect but a damn site better than a year or so ago.
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