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how can I help ds (recent AS dx, 4.4) to stop pathalogically pushing other chilldren?(37 Posts)
My ds recently dx with AS (high functioning - very bright, high IQ, imaginative, never stops talking, but very inflexible and has major sensory problems) has since the beginning of nursery pushed other children completely unprovoked. If a child walks past he will stick his elbow out, if he is sitting next to someone he will suddenly push them off their chair, if playing outside he will push the closest person.
There doesn't seem to be any malice it is more like an impulse that he cannot control, I expect to do with over stimulation of his senses. He doesn't usually do it in small groups or in one to one sitiations (although he has sometimes) and he only does it with his peers, not adults.
Clearly it's better for him to be in smaller environments without lots of children, but as this is near impossible at school, how on earth can I help him to control this impulse?
All the mums and dads aviod us, all I hear after school is ''DS' hurt me mummy!' and it's really getting me down so so so much not to mention affecting ds's self esteem, as he doesn't do it to be mean. He is actually incredibly sweet and thoughtful, which makes it even harder to take.
Any one have any experience or advice? Thank you!
I feel for you as I have sort of been their. My son is very like yours, though not diagonised as AS. He was and occasionally is still violent and aggressive for no reason.
It all really kicked off when he started reception, he was excluded by the other kids slowly and it totally affected his self esteem.
I was at my wits end by the end of reception, our relationship was terrible.
We did www.sunflowertrust.com/ over the summer before his first year and it has really helped him and helped me to understand my son and he has calmed down a lot. Obviously he has grown up a lot as well which helps. Now he is finishing year 2 and most of the time he is ok except when he is stressed or he is sensory overloaded.
What did we do? We totally cut out sugar from his diet for a month and it transformed his behaviour. We re-introduced it partly, but now when he has too much sugar you can immedatiely see the affect. I keep a watchful eye on it.
Lots of stating the obvious - "don't do that it is annoying" or when we get to school say - "remember that other children don't like it when you....". He needs constant reminding.
Miraluka I really feel for you. I don't have any advice but I definitely have the experience. I know what it's like to hear those comments and to feel ostracised from all the other parents. All I can say is is that as your ds is only 4 years old and with good intelligence that he might be able to learn how his behaviour has a negative effect on others. Have you ever tried social stories. Maybe do a simple comic strip, to show that a child who constantly hurts others finds that it's harder to make friends. I know it's not easy though and I do really empathise.
I can sympathise - same problem with DD aged 4. Macwoozy, what exactly ARE social stories? You all talk about them and I don't think I've yet admitted that I don't really understand the concept! DD's only "friend" is a little girl of the same age whose mother is very understanding and who brings her little girl round to play. However, DD keeps pushing M. and one of these days M. is going to stop wanting to come over!
Thanks, TC. They look great. Far too advanced for DD now (she's only just turned 4) but I can see them coming in useful when she's a bit older / more understanding!
I've got to admit that when it comes to aggression I have used an aversive therapy of hairwash to stop him being aggressive. It may seem harsh in the short term, but in the longer term my theory is that aggression is the one thing that would get him kicked out of school and ostracised by kids/parents. So if he was ever aggressive, he got a short sharp hairwash (he hates it) and he learned to edit his own behaviour. It may be different as your child is more verbal (my child was non verbal at that time) but he is still a child and children (esp boys imho) may not listen to words but will learn the lesson of hairwash or cold shower. My boy is no longer aggressive and therefore he does get invited to class parties and can cope in the mainstream classroom (though he is not very high functioning). Sorry if anyone doesn't agree with this tactic, but it has worked for me and I just wanted to share it. I would never ever ever hit a child, but think that cold showers and hairwash are fair game (and the child ends up very clean too!)
Can totally empathise, my 8.5 ds1 has a dx of hfa/ as and has really bad aggression issues, I am currently taking him out of school most munchtimes as the only way they were coping was to keep him in a room alone whilst the other kids played- i understand but hardly going to help matters (I have a longer term plan in mind, just getting by until the holidays).
Social stories are fab I agree.
With ds1 we are going right back to basics, we need to realign his idea of what a friend is.
We are also looking at teaching relaxation techniques he can use to control overloadng. Now, DS1 is by the sounds of uit more 'deliberately' aggressive than your lovely ds, and so far we have gotten nowhere, but I can eventually see a very real use for such things as basic relaxation (counting to ten, breathing etc) and even yoga.
You have my syumpathies with the comments; they hurt
Thanks everyone, I suppose part of the problem with ne trying to deal with it is at nursery I'm not there, and the teachers don't like me to be involved (they think it makes an issue out of it) so I only really know what's happened each day by the otyher children's reactions and occasional meetings with the teachers (there have been more of those since the dx).
He understands that it hurts other children and is not acceptable, and will happily give me a speech about how will never ever do it again, but everything he 'knows' seems to be forgotten in the moment that he does it, like a short circuit.
He likes social stories, but as above the problem is he doesn't seem to use the knowledge at the crucial moment. Perhaps things will improve with age. God I hope so!
ds does this too (suspected high functioning AS). We always insist on going to say sorry and giving a hug - that's if we see it.
At nursery, he has a sorry card. It's just a lamanated card with the word sorry on it and a sad face. He has to give it to the child he has pushed. Ds has dramatically reduced his aggression in the last few months. I think it is a combination of nursery treating him better, fish oils (I think these have worked on aggression as we notice a difference if he doesn't take them) and an increase in his language skills.
I've also noticed that if I can work out what ds was trying to do (for example ask for a turn of something) and then give him the words he will ask very willingly. It might even be that he wants to say hello but can't find a way in except to hit/push. Can you identify any areas like this with your ds?
Sympathy though, a lot of it is random and unprovoked which makes it exasperating to deal with.
TClanger - can I ask a question as we are currently trying to figure out if ds has AS or a language processing problem.
We've recently been on holiday abroad and ds was fab, no fuss about change of routine etc. But we did notice his default position is to play on his own (he has 2 siblings close in age).
Could you tell me if your son chooses to play on his own? Also if it is not too much prying - could you say how they ruled out AS for your son. Our paed has delayed dx until October because he is coming on so fast. I suppose my big concern is that we get a wrong dx and therefore not the best treatment for ds.
Thanks and sorry for thread highjack MrsLuka.
nikos - this is where I am with DS at the moment (wondering if he has ASD or language delay/disorder). The current paed thinking is that he "probably" doesn't but they need to keep an eye on him. I never got a proper explanation of exactly why they thought he didn't - his NHS SALT thinks his social communication is reasonably OK, that he tries to initiate and look at people when talking (but eye contact goes if he is struggling to find words). His NHS SALT has a theory with DS that sometimes he watches but doesn't join in with the other children at nursery is because he is bright so aware of his difficulties with language. Am not 100% convinced but an interesting thought.
I used to push as a young child - - I think it was because I wanted to join in but wasn't quite sure how to.
Thanks for that TClanger. I keep swaying between thinking it is language delay (processing receptive language rather than speaking) as ds is not rigid with routine, has natural eye contact and gets jokes etc. Also not obsessive, although he does like numbers and buses. But he also does play on his own and will play with siblings but on his own agenda. His play doesn't seem to flow naturally IYKWIM. And at those times I suspect ASD.
TotalChaos, when/why did you stop pushing?! I see that with ds, he really likes the idea of friends, just can't act on it appropriately.
I think I stopped pushing when I got to school, so could copy other children's initiation techniques. (I didn't go to nursery).
people with ASD can have vivid fantasty worlds etc. I think imagination in terms of the triad means imagination more in the sense of being able to figure out what other people may be thinking/feeling.
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