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advice on behaviours for AS

(13 Posts)
iwearflairs Sun 31-May-09 09:57:33


For anyone who remembers my DS is 5 and has a dx of AS. Although he difficulties are generally mild, we are beginning to find his behaviours harder to handle.

The main things are - helping him to calm down; a bit of oppositional naughtiness, e.g. spilling and throwing and recently a lot of arguing i.e. will not do a single thing asked without saying no and arguing. And of course meltdowns - he has problems with self-regulating so I have never been sure whether to leave him to it or try to help him be calm. If I say the words 'calm down' he gets furious and tries to bite me. And then there is the outbursts and rudeness if another child interrupts him which gets in the way of his playing with anybody.

I have the brilliant 100 tips for Parenting and Aspergers child by Brenda whatserface which is great, but not quite hitting the spot on some things.

Can any of you tell me where you got your best advice on behaviour? Was it a kind of therapist or a book? Any thoughts very gratefully received.

BONKERZ Sun 31-May-09 10:14:06

Ds has atypical autism and ODD so not aspergers but i think its all relativE!

This week with it being half term i have had to cope with all DSs mood swings alone, he too has huge melt downs and the ODD means he will argue black is white etc..... my method for trial this week was the 'dont feed the monster' method! Basically when DS starts to answer back or gets the LOOK i turn away from him and just let him rant/scream/shout etc and give him no attention at all, i ignore everything that comes out of his mouth which is difficult and embarrassing in public BUT i have found this week his outbursts have been alot shorter, i allow him time to vent his anger and have found he is calming quicker and when he approaches me which he does after for reassurance i think i have been telling him its ok to be angry but that mummy will not talk to him when he is angry, i think its important to explain the method when he is calm so he may start to understand it!

not sure if this wil help you but thought id let you know what i have been trying this week, also i know my son wont repond to this method for long! LOL we have to use different things alot !

iwearflairs Sun 31-May-09 11:31:07

thanks bonkerz -- I never know whether ignoring helps or not because DS has self-regulatory problems and I think I am supposed to apply deep pressure and help him calm, but he doesn't seem to want to be touched at all when he is cross.

were you advised to do this by the people who diagnosed him?

amberlight Sun 31-May-09 13:05:50

Deep pressure? Do you do the blanket/duvet thing with him, or is it a hug-hold? Does he have a totally quiet spot where he can get away for a few minutes - room, corner, under a table, pop up tent, etc?

BONKERZ Sun 31-May-09 13:11:27

we have struggled to get any advice or help since DS was diagnosed in aug last year.
most of the tsrategies i use now i get from other parents of ASD children on here and in real life at support groups etc i go to. One thing that does keep coming up is to choose your battles, its about reassessing whats important.
I have realised its ok for ds to shout and vent his anger verbally, i draw the line at swearing but thankfully he does not know any hard core words yet and sticks to 'poo or arse' which i can ignore. i also wont allow him to get physical with anyone so would intervene. would also intervene if i felt he was in danger.

iwearflairs Sun 31-May-09 13:23:04

I agree bonkerz that there is just the need to vent and I am just going to have to get used to it up to a point.

amberlight - I don't do anything really except try to hug him but he usually doesn't want it because he wants to be heard and for me to say something that he wants to hear. he does have his bedroom or else he can go to sit on a sofa and he sometimes takes himself off there. we have a fairly quiet house and only me and my husband are around most of the time.

amberlight do you have any advice on how to support him when he is playing with another child and they interrupt him? He then destroys the game or rails at them and says they are not allowed

amberlight Sun 31-May-09 13:42:14

Iwearflairs, speaking personally, if someone tries to hug me when I'm overloaded, I got absolutely raving mad trying to get away from them - it hurts like hell itself. It feels like someone's trying to suffocate me, too. It becomes more like a battle for my life. I can't speak for each child, but so often I see autism spectrum children reacting the same sorts of ways to restraint or hugs, so I do wonder if they may experience the same sensory overload from it.

With a sensory system that can detect the tiniest possible changes in sound, light, heat, cold, pressure, touch, smell, taste etc etc, the uneven pressure from a hug is (I think) what can cause problems.

What works for me is the same principle as if you had a small fire in the room from overloaded wiring...switch off everything possible, put a fire blanket over it. In other words, switch off all sound, interaction, try to get the environment to 'dead silence' if you can - or move them if you can to somewhere that is quieter. And a duvet or blanket to wrap round themselves, tight. That's even pressure, not lumpy pressure, and it seems to work better for some. Certainly does for me. No eye contact, no talking if possible. Absolutely yes we need to make sure they and others are safe, so if emergency action has to be taken, fine. But our brain wiring really does 'overheat' and all interactions with people are a bit like trying to put out a fire by throwing petrol on it.

With playing with other children, it's so very difficult. Our brains usually have no 'people bit' in them, or rather the amazingly fast bit that normally tells you who's who, and what they're thinking, is used as a filing zone for our hobbies.

If he's playing a game, he's using that bit of his brain, probably. Which means that, to him, his toys/game are every bit as important as his most loved person in the whole world. What he does might be fine-tuned to the most incredible degree, too. A line of cars might be lined up with breathtaking accuracy, and along comes a child who moves things or cuts across his concentration in achieving that total perfection...and to him it'll feel like someone's just punched his mum in front of him.

He might need a lot of social stories, where he can learn that he can have his own time with his own toys...but when someone comes round, he has to share a game with them for X amount of time so that they will be friends with him. Then he can play his own way again. If he can work out a timetable for it, and know that the chaos of free play is going to end at a certain point, he might be able to learn to balance his brain wiring overheating problem a bit better. It takes years and years and years of practice for us to get it right, so patience of many saints will be needed.

Also I love the Incredible Five Point Scale book - I do my own five point scales for things now too. Well worth getting if you don't have it already. If he can use that sort of scale, he can help you to understand what he feels like when rage is building up, and you can help him understand when he's got to learn to just back away and go find that quiet corner for a while.

If friends can learn simple rules to help, that'd be good too. They might be able to learn to ask before moving something he's focusing on, for example, or before moving things he's put in a particular place. Or learn to signal first before talking to him - it works for me if people just say my name and then stop for a moment whilst I 'unplug' my hobby/interest and then refocus on them. Or if that doesn't work, wave a hand in my field of vision. If they talk at me whilst I'm focused on something else, I can get overloaded very very fast, or I simply won't hear them at all.

One thing I really notice with me is I tense up immediately if someone talks to me from behind me or touches me unexpectedly from outside of my field of view. I can't prepare myself for it. If friends are round, might be worth watching to see where they are in relation to him when things go wrong - a bit of quiet observation?

BONKERZ Sun 31-May-09 13:59:43

im trying to introduce the five point scale to ds, he is nearly 9 and until now has not been able to recognise his own anger etc BUT his new school are doing really well and DS has now started pointing out if he feels a little angry.

troutpout Sun 31-May-09 14:47:43

I find this difficult too

I tend to do what Bonkerz does ...i tend to let him rant it out and leave him.
BUT.. I have found this increasingly more difficult as he has got older because he has actually become more confrontational- he doesn't just want to rant, he wants to WIN! He therefore seeks you out or follows you arguing and ranting.
He is the only one making a noise at this stage.
I try to go quieter and quieter and say less and less slowly..( but just saying the same thing)...that seems to help.
So far <<touch wood>> it has worked.

The five point scale thing doens't seem to work with my boy...he doesn't seem to be able to recognise things building at all.I've tried written and pictoral ones. He doesn't see stages in between at all.
Those happy/angry face scale things have him mystified .Correct me if i'm wrong but i've always found them a bit odd to use anyway with people who have problems reading faces? A written description seems to be the only form which he can see at all but even then i've not had much success yet. Perhaps it might work as he gets older

BONKERZ Sun 31-May-09 15:25:17

this is what i have found trout, i have had the 5 scale book for about 6 months now and have found it difficult to use as DS goes from 0-60 in seconds, there appears to be no build up he just flips. he does not understand emotions at all and we have had to try to write it down and explain it in terms he will understand, a good one which helps ds is that we have written said he is to not listen to the voice in his head which tells him to be naughty so when he hears the voice it means he is on scale number 3 and needs to go to time out.

amberlight Sun 31-May-09 17:09:49

I don't use faces on mine - mine is whatever pictures work to help me understand what state I'm in at the time. If he can find his own - whatever they are - that'd work a bit better. The faces in that book are very odd anyway so I ignored them.

The Volcano effect is bloomin difficult to understand, yes. If I may generalise: So much of our social behaviour is learned, so we know that we're supposed to behave a certain way, and we do...and we seem the same when we're calm, and when we're a bit worked-up, and when we're really quite worked-up, then it's like a bath overflowing and wallop! out comes panic/anger/shutdown/whatever, seemingly without warning as we suddenly lose the ability to do the social behaviour we've learned. The idea of altering my behaviour gradually to reflect how I'm feeling is a complete mystery to me and I can't actually do it. blush

It's taken my autism adviser person about 6 months to get me to use my set of images properly, and look how old I am (sigh) so my advice would be 'don't give up'.

BONKERZ Sun 31-May-09 18:18:40

thankyou always your amazing insight can help me so much. you truely are an inspiration.

iwearflairs Sun 31-May-09 19:20:08

me too -- amberlight thank you very much that it so insightful and helpful. My DS does tend to be overreactive so overload is bound to be a part of it as well as the times when something happens that negates what he has come to understand already, or just plain old surprises.

Uncannily enough I have just bought the 5 point scale book this morning. DS loves numbers and we have talked about scales in other regards so I think he should get the hang.

Troutpout - the confrontational thing rings true here as well - I think silence and diminishing sensory elements should be the way forward.

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