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AMBER & any parents of pre-teen AS children - Help!

(20 Posts)
tellyaddict Wed 22-Oct-08 17:25:59

Hi there

Amber hope you don't mind me asking, and also to all other parents of a pre-teen with AS, I don't want yet another holiday ruined......

My AS son (11) struggles with the break in routine when there's a school holiday (as I'm sure most AS/ASD kids do). Already I've had a stroppy, moody, argumentative child on my hands who keeps telling me he's so bored he wants to die. We've been out to an indoor play area that he normally loves for a good part of the day and then been out for a walk. Earlier on he got to watch his choice on TV whilst I did household stuff. This is Day One (of 8!) and I'm in a stinking mood because his behaviour has completely worn me out.

He's a great kid and I won't be annoyed with him for long, but I would love to enjoy a school holiday without so much stress everyday (I have two other kids to consider too).

ANY tips/suggestions most appreciated.

pushkar Wed 22-Oct-08 17:45:00

fish oils omega 3 helps kids with as and asd, but it takes two weeks to actually see a result and calm down have you thought of some kind of soft play or adventure playground to let off steam.. routines are great for kids that's why the school hols can be a nightmare, my son although younger with asd releases his anxiety in osteopathy sessions weekly and soft plays and simply football in the park!

Troutpout Wed 22-Oct-08 17:47:09

Can you give him a timetable?
If i give my boy a written down timetable of the day when he is feeling a little like this (usually at the beginning of every holiday tbh !) then he (and i) seem to find it a bit easier.

Troutpout Wed 22-Oct-08 17:50:26

Meant to add also factoring in any time when he can just do whatever he wants.
My ds is also 11 btw smile
Hope he perks up a bit in a few days...i know just how you feel..I shall be in just the same position come monday!

tellyaddict Wed 22-Oct-08 19:37:33

Pushkar - thanks for your response. I used to give him fish oil (eye-q) for a couple of years and apart from beautifully soft skin smile they didn't seem to make much difference, but we could try again as that was a few years ago.

Troutpout - thank you also. A timetable would be a good idea, I might struggle to find time just to think about and write one up lol! I do give him 'free time' which means that he can watch TV or play video games (or even just read/veg) in his room or in the lounge. I really think he's totally lost without his school (that he hates so much lol).

If I can muster up the energy over the weekend, maybe we can sit down and plan for the following week. I'll need heaps of emotional energy for this as they enjoy asking for opposite things or opposing each others ideas...... fairly typical behaviour but it quickly gets out of control when my AS son over-reacts.

Thanks for your responses so far, I really appreciate them. smile

amber32002 Wed 22-Oct-08 20:27:57

Ooooh, nearly-teenage boy. Hmm. Tricky. Never been one myself, so I'll have to think about friends of mine who have teenage boys, and indeed my own (though he's not ASD). We're usually SO bad at organising ourselves sensibly if we're ASD. The timetable idea is brilliant, since anything that resembles a routine and rules is such a relief once we're settled into it. Not knowing what will happen from one hour to the next is like living in a war zone waiting for the next shell to drop. I respond with fear and just 'shutting down', and boys seem to respond with rudeness and disruption (generally, not always). We might hate school, but it's sometimes easier to cope with than 'nothing'.

Video games, online games, repeated favourite DVDs...anything he's good at and enjoys a lot. Really difficult if there's competing interests though, I agree. If he can be involved in creating the timetable and taking 'ownership' of it, and negotiating things for tomorrow rather than too quickly, that might help. Planning ahead is easier than stopping or changing something straight away or very soon.

Not sure if any of that helps...

tellyaddict Wed 22-Oct-08 22:09:21

Actually it does Amber, I'm less annoyed at his rudeness if it is a likely response to having 'nothing' rather than a routine/timetable. It's too easy to get bombarded with what he is saying and unable to step back and think 'why'.

Despite time constraints (my youngest is a baby) I will sit with him tomorrow and do a timetable that he is happy with. My middle child is more able to accommodate (no ASD) and is at school still, so won't be affected tomorrow anyway.

Thanks so much, I knew clarity would be provided smile

amber32002 Thu 23-Oct-08 07:21:49

You'll be lucky to get any clarity out of me grin. I'm well known for rambling on about things that make sense to me, but I forget to say enough about 'why' to other people blush

I actually can't do 'nothing', not even at my age. If there's 'nothing', anything could happen. Absolutely anything at all. Any surprise is a complete 'spoon dropper' for me.

(For those not familiar with Spoons Theory, look up the brilliant Christine Miserando article at It's not exactly done to show how life is for people with an ASD, but it's similar - any social stuff or uncertainty or sensory overload for us means we're losing 'spoons' faster than we know how to handle, and when 'out of spoons' we have a meltdown or shutdown and need time out to recover)

I have to do 'something', and preferably something I really know well that can be done at top speed and for hours and hours and is very predictable, which is why so many aspies almost live on the internet where there are online games and ways to interact that don't involve the scarier social stuff.

tellyaddict Thu 23-Oct-08 09:30:31

You'd be surprised Amber at what clarity you do provide. As I've mentioned on another thread (as did Misscutandstick on another thread too) you give much needed insight to how aspies' minds work. Being an articulate adult you are able to often tell us what our AS children can't.

jenk1 Thu 23-Oct-08 09:39:44

hiya telly addict

i have exactly the same situation with my DS,who is almost 12,he is due to break up this week for 2 weeks and im dreading it.

I find what helps with him is

A timetable of events given to him the night before so he can read it and settle it into his mind.

"Chill" time,which usually means him decamping to my bedroom (cos there is a king size bed lol) with either his DS or his WII and i leave him be for a couple of hours a day.

i ask him each morning is it a sociable day today ie-does he want me to intercept friends calling or phoning or does he feel up to socialising with them and he lets me know.

his food timetable for the day and the next day.

a look through the argos catalog with him,thats his latest obsession and he likes to sit next to me for 10 mins and talk incessantly about what he would like for xmas despite telling me everyday for the last 2 months!!!!


jenk1 Thu 23-Oct-08 09:41:42

oh and he doesnt really like going out much during the holidays,prefers to stay at or near to home as possible,but he will go to say morrissons for a ham butty box but its in get butty box and out,so i dont pressurise him to go out.

amber32002 Thu 23-Oct-08 15:57:54

Oh yes, the Argos catalogue is one of my absolute favourite things in all the world! With enough practise, I can predict what's on all the pages, and it's pictures and numbers!!
And encyclopedias, dictionaries, seed catalogues...blush

tellyaddict Thu 23-Oct-08 17:55:39

Hi Jenk

thanks for your tips. Today started off with him being stressed again, so I suggested that we plan our day together. We did and as soon as he'd bribed persuaded me to take him out for lunch in exchange for us taking a walk to where lunch was, he was fine and dandy. He loves going to shops to look toys, magazines and videos and eating out (oh and BUYING toys, magazines and videos - expensive child to raise) so he was happy today.

I haven't tried an Argos catalogue yet (I'm scared to - his normally modest Christmas list might become very extensive shock grin) but it's a great idea!

We will plan things to do next week, looks like I can get away with planning just the day before, for the following day only. This is ideal are we tend to be quite spontaneous and if I do a whole week's timetable then any changes will cause upset.

Jenk I like the idea of you doing a food plan too - is your son very 'focussed' on his food also then, lol!

Good luck to everyone who is facing/about to face what I am, sending lots of emotional strength and good humour your way! grin

amber32002 Thu 23-Oct-08 20:10:41

Tellyaddict, good plan re doing one day at a time. I don't know how much energy I have for something until the day, which means I end up cancelling things because I thought I had the oomph to do them, but it turns out I didn't because something unexpected happened. Probably the same for your ds too.

flyingmum Fri 24-Oct-08 17:11:14

Amber - you rock!

My son is addicted to the Argos Catalogue - so much so that last Christmas it was the only present he asked for!!!!

amber32002 Fri 24-Oct-08 17:23:30

I rock? Drat - I thought no-one knew about that hmm grin

flyingmum Fri 24-Oct-08 17:42:29

Yes feel a bit blush as as soon as had pressed 'post' as I realised the myriad of interpretations that 'you rock!' can have.

I've just read your 'day in the life of Amber' post - thank you so much. It helps a lot to understand my chap (particularly the money falling about everywhere) but also me! I cannot think if there is noise going on. I am also easily discombobulated at changes (witness me trying to test drive and automatic car yesterday - nearly caused a pile up on the dual carriage way as I panicked and put the imaginary clutch down & emergency stopped instead - the waves of shame (metaphorically speaking) are still crashing down on me.

amber32002 Fri 24-Oct-08 19:56:54

No worries - I thought it was grin not angry. It's worth persevering with the automatic cars - I found it SO much easier to handle than manual ones once I'd got used to it. Never ask what happened when hubby got his first automatic though - I think the salesman is probably still traumatised...grin

Plumbuddle Fri 24-Oct-08 22:54:58

We timetable in extreme detail in our house too but to stop it only applying to my 10 year old and unbalancing everyone's relationships, we have a blackboard with the two children's activities set out in different coloured chalk which sits at the table for them to look at and discuss at meals. They can then check whether family attention is being fairly shared too, an issue when thinking about sharing & turn-taking.
I am interested that other mums are allowing so much computer/game time, I feel a curmudgeonly resistance to this but we do pay a high price not allowing more than 30 mins a day of it. I'm also so worried about chatting and browsing online when children are so vulnerable. Does anyone feel that playing these games makes the child more hyper rather than less? Can anyone recommend sites which one would feel less guilty about the child using for long periods?

amber32002 Sat 25-Oct-08 09:42:43

At son's age (16) there's far more freedom on the internet, though I do monitor which sites he looks at so he knows not to look at ones that are too shock. Since those with an ASD find computer interaction to be way, way easier than face to face interaction, it maybe takes a different set of rules to that for non-ASD children. Son learned a lot from Runescape, for example, where he could practise his teambuilding and keyboard skills, and it's quite creative. It may be better suited for those starting secondary school, though. A search for RPG (role playing games) on the internet shows tons that are available for almost any age group, so it's worth browing and visiting a few and seeing what you think? We have an internet browser that is very obsessively careful about what it shows, and we set out security settings to very high, which helps. And the computer is in a 'public area' in the house so there was no chance of him hiding away unseen and being vulnerable that way. And I've told him some of the horror stories of my own bad experiences on the internet, too, which has given him some real-life examples (bullying etc)

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