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DS1 won't go into friend's house

82 replies

Jimjams · 31/01/2004 16:51

I have a very good friend with an autistic dd. She's one of 2 people that I can visit and be at ease with, and in the holidays we see each other a lot. And to be honest we keep each other sane.

DS1 has been scared of her upstairs for a while now- we have no idea why. Now he won't go in her house. He has done this before in another friend's house when we lived in London (again got scared of her upstiars then refused to go to her house) but we moved before it was resolved.

I am so pissed off. I have a feeling we won't get him back inside the house for another 8 or 9 months at least (judging by the previous seaside fiasco). Ds2 loves playing with her ds as well so he's going to miss out as well. In fact we all are, and if I am stuck in the house with the pair of them for the entire school holidays I think I will end up mad.

There's no way we can meet elsewhere as we both need one adult per child. Anything less isn't safe.

Any ideas? This has totally thrown me. Final straw really - had a crap couple of weeks.

I hate f autism.

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crystaltips · 31/01/2004 17:00

before I have absolutely no experience with aurism - so amybe my suggestions are going to be rubbish.

Does your DS respond to bribery / treats of any sort ?

I presume he is OK with your friend and her kids - so it's not the people who are the issue.

Does your DS have a favourite toy that could go with him ?

I am really clutching at straws - but I do feel for you as I have had a similar situation where my DD would not go to my best mate's house for a while
Doubt I am of much help at all really.

crystaltips · 31/01/2004 17:01

really should preview before hand - shouldn't I !

Jimjams · 31/01/2004 17:07

bribery doesn't work as he doesn't have the language to understand it unfortunately. This is the real problem with this sort of weird fear I have no way of reaosning with him.

He's fine with all the people who live in the house. And he's fine if I tell him we are going, and fine on the car over there. At the moment he will walk inside the house as well- its then that he panics and freaks out. I suspect (based on previous experience) that within a couple of further visits he will panic when we reach the front door.

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crystaltips · 31/01/2004 17:13

I know that it's not suitable at the moment .... does this friend have a garden ?

Perhaps on a nice day take your kids to her house and play in the garden for a while and then go home. Showing that there's no initial threat with the house itself ...
Play by the front door next time and so on .... nipping in and out to go to the loo etc.

This is probably not realistic a ) if there is no garden and b ) looking at the weather at the moment
and also C ) your trips ( like mine ) are good for your own sanity.

Can you have your friend round until this is feasible ?

Jimjams · 31/01/2004 17:18

We tried taking him into the garden today but he still screamed.

Friend is very welcome round here but its never very relaxing as her dd tends to draw dogs on the walls (doesn't matter much to me only 2 rooms have been decorated anyway- the rest has wallpaper half pulled off.) Trouble is she also does things like get into the medicine cabinet and eat day nurse (last visit). Or somehow manages to get onto our dodgy balcony through a locked window. She is much much safer in her own house. We can't stay with her as she leaves the room when another child enters and ds2 and friend's ds tend to want to be with us and follow us around (they're only 2- friend's dd is 7, ds1 is 4). We can't really go into our garden as she cold scale our fence and there;s a 30 foot drop the other side! (she scales normal sized fences- our is over 6 foot but I think she would manage it)

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Jimjams · 31/01/2004 17:21

Thanks for the suggestions though crystaltips. The no pressure to go inside route would probably be the most likely one to work. small steps and all that.

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hmb · 31/01/2004 17:22

Jimjams, can you try showing him photos of the house? Would that help him to 'desensitise' while still feeling safe in your house? can your friend get the hoover out in the hallway to 'tempt' him in (if he is still into hoovers?)

It must be sooooo frustrating for you and your friend......wish you could come round to mine, but it is a bit of a long trip.

Jimjams · 31/01/2004 17:25

He helped himself to the hoover today for the 5 mins he was there, but then just started screaming and trying to get his shoes and socks on.

Maybe I should take photos of the upstairs- he won't go up there so I have no idea what is frightening him. Maybe taking photos would give us some idea or would stop freaking him out. That couyld backfire though as I'm sure he won't go in the house in case we "make" him go upstairs (we never have).

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hmb · 31/01/2004 17:31

Difficult to know what to do for the best, because as you say, it could make things worse. On the other hand it shounds as if visits are impossible now anyway.

If there is something specific that he can't cope with could you use pecs to get home the point that the object/whatever will be locked away, doors shut etc? He likes dooors as well doesn't he?

This must be hell Jimjams, I'm at a lost to know what to say. Just wish I could sort it for you.

But love the picture of him helping himself to the hoover

Davros · 31/01/2004 17:35

What a shame Jimjams, its a bugger when something you all enjoy goes pear shaped. You could try Crystaltips idea of bribery, known to us as reinforcement! I think you should start very small. Maybe a phone call to your friend (pretend) in his hearing, no arrangements and no pressure. Can you take a photo of her house, and of her and her daughter? I would just have these lying around with some other photos whcih would give another chance to look at them and comment informally. Next maybe you could try to find a time when you can drive there and go straight past, maybe saying "oh look, there's X's house" (leave DS2 behind so he doesn't get upset?). Maybe next time stop and put something through the door, next time he could come to the door with you and leave straight away etc etc. Then, if any of this works, you could use Crystaltips bribery (reinforcement to us!), maybe leave something he likes there or get something new for him, keeping a photo or catalogue picture so he knows what is inside the house for him. I know, by the time you've done all this, you'll all be in the old folks' home! Perhaps you culd hatch your own JJ version. I DO think start very small though.

Jimjams · 31/01/2004 17:44

We have to go back there in 20 minutes or so to collect dh and ds2. (friend's dd's party- that didn't freak him though- its definitely the upstairs and I think the thought that we will make him go upstairs specifically- so yes going round with no pressure may be the way to go). Thinking about it he;s been scared of the upstairs for ages but happy to go round- last time we went the other children went upstairs and I said 'A do you want to go as well?" (literally as laid back as that) cuie scremaing and going home- so yes I need to get through to him that he won't have to go upstairs. I'll either leave him in the car or just take him to the door when we collect ds2. Initially we left woth ds2 but he started squaking as he wanted to stay at the party. usually I would stay with him but I was too upset so thought I would be a party pooper!

Aggghhh can someone spray some magic language spray please. Life would be sooooo much easier with language.

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Jimjams · 31/01/2004 17:47

Davros- I'm not sure the reinforcer would work as he's just so scared. It's like a panic attack when he gets to the house.

In fact when he had this same thing about grass and the beach I always felt he wanted to go on the grass/beach- its just that when he got there he suddenly panicked.

We got over the grass one in small steps. First we walked on concrete, then on paths, then on the edge of the path then he was fine. The beach we kept visiting- but there was an alternative concrete walk we could do through a valley if the beach upset him. It did every time we went when suddenly he was fine again.

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Jimjams · 31/01/2004 17:50

I hate it when I say a sentence that I realise I shouldn;t have said
ie "a do you want to go upstairs as well".

Agghhh how could I have been so bloody stupid! I had a sinking feeling as soon as the words came out of myu mouth

Talking about it on here has been useful- I have a much clearer idea of how we got to this point.

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Jimjams · 31/01/2004 17:59

Something else has occurred to me.

Ds1 doesn;t really understnad the concept of choice. He never really understand that he has a choice. So for example if I say to him "do you need to go to the toilet", he translates that as having to go and will scream and complain if he doesn't want to. So when I said "A do you want to go upstairs" he will have translated that as "you will go upstairs". Hence the terror.

i think I'll take him to the door and as soon as he complains leave (this is what we did with the beach) so giving him control again.

An just how do you teach them a functional yes and no? It would make life so much easier!

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hmb · 31/01/2004 18:07

Is there a way of gettign the concept of choice linked to a pec card? Chosing between two food items, say. Or chosing an activity? Very difficult, as you say. It think that chosing between two options is easier to represent that chosing whether to do something or not.

Jimjams · 31/01/2004 18:45

I have a book here with a chapter about choice. I'll read it again tonight. I seem to remember that's how it starts you let them chose between 2 things as often as possible using PECS. We'll start tomorrow.

Went to pick up ds2- fine went in took his shoes off then started screaming, so we let him leave immediately. I said to my friend I;ll try and pop round a lot - to leave immediately just so he knows he has some control.

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crystaltips · 31/01/2004 18:51

How about going round and rather than say "do you want to go upstairs" tell him that you'd like him to stay downstairs with you .... would that work ??

Jimjams · 31/01/2004 19:05

I've tried, but the damage is done. I think I'll have to pop round a lot, tell him to stay downstairs and leave as soon as he wants to.

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maryz · 31/01/2004 19:55

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maddiemo · 01/02/2004 09:02

Do you think that he understands that there is a "and after you have been upstairs you can come back down". My son finds it hard to understand that there is a next step in a sequence of events. Does that make sense?
We used cards to make choices. Biscuit or puzzle type choices. I also had some cards that a picture and then another card with the same picture with a no entry type circle with a line through it to represent the choice of "no".
Hope that things feel a bit better for you soon

Davros · 01/02/2004 11:09

Crystaltips is right about talking about "downstairs" rather than "upstairs" as, whatever the accompanying language he is probably just picking out that word. I agree that all the reinforcement in the world is no good when there's a real fear there I think its important to respect this type of thing without giving in to it too easily. PECs cards are a good idea. Remember to mix up how you present them so he is really making a choice rather than just picking a card. Yes/No is something we have worked on, on and off, for a few years. Its an extremely useful thing to understand but very tricky to teach (my son anyway!). I'll have a look at the notes I've got. We've tried it with PECs but it didn't work, we're trying again with a nod/shake (can't see the point of teaching Makaton when its a gesture anyway)......
YOur beach experience sounds like it will be useful for this situation too.

Jimjams · 01/02/2004 12:14

I've been thinking about introducing those circle things for no. I think iirc its in the pecs manual- I'll have a look.

I think we're just going to have to go round a lot, then leave when he complains- even if its after 1 minute- as I think the worst thing we did with the beach stuff was try and jolly him through it. I hope if he feels in control he'll stop worrying and will stay longer. I may ask my friend to out the washing machine on before we go round as well. He likes her washing machine.

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dinosaur · 02/02/2004 10:57

Jimjams you've probably already thought of this, but would some kind of "social story" help? E.g. if you could put together a sequence of pictures e.g. you and DS1 in car driving to friend's house, DS1 walking up path (or whatever) to friend's house, DS1 going into friend's house, then perhaps a picture of some stairs with a big cross through them, to signify NO UPSTAIRS, then perhaps a picture of DS1 eating a biscuit or playing with the hoover or whatever, downstairs in friend's house?

SoupDragon · 02/02/2004 11:13

JimJams, would he understand if you said "Lets go and look at Xs washing machine"? Would this mean something different to "lets go to Xs house" as it's clearly downstairs? At least I assume it is downstairs Is the house laid out so you could arrange it that someone is blocking the stairs at all times when you arrive and DS1 is ushered straight past?

Jimjams · 02/02/2004 11:20

I've been having a chat to Florica Stone this morning- she wrote "autism the 8th colour of the rainbow"- a very positive book about autism. She felt that it's very important to teach ds1 choice, so we'll start big time on that today. I think that we'll just have to take him round a lot and leave as soon as he complains. so he understands he has some control. I don't think we'll get him to the washing machine- I think his fear is too great at the moment (he has to take his shoes and socks off as he arrives- not because my friend says he does- just because he "always" takes his shoes and socks of sat at the bottom of the stairs in anyones house). Don't know what he would do in a bungalow.

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