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Existing child with ASD and new sibling

2 replies

crazydiamond222 · 27/07/2019 07:46


I am after some advice about behaviour expectations for a new child compared to an existing child with SEN. I have an 8 year old son with autism and Fragile X who is minimally verbal. He is my only child but I am expecting a baby in November.

My son is very sensory seeking and is not interested in playing with toys (despite us doing everything we can think of including ABA and intensive interaction to encourage this). As a result he does spend quite a lot of time at the weekends on his ipad, we find this really calms him, and he will often then do other things at the same time e.g. go on his swing, look at books whilst it is on in the background. If we take the ipad away he will just engage in sensory seeking behavior (e.g. play with himself, or chew on things) rather than do anything productive.

We try to take him out as much as possible but when we eat out he will look at a phone (otherwise he will not sit still for long enough for us to eat and will get distressed). He also gets very anxious around food and will eat much better if he is distracted by the phone.

I am due to give birth in November to another boy (who has already been tested as clear of Fragile x). However when we have the new child I am keen that he does not spend all his free time on the ipad as well and does not have it when we eat out.

However I don't know how easy it will be to manage this as it could come across as a bit unfair that one son gets lots of ipad time whilst the other one doesn't. Does anyone have any advice on how to manage this. Should I be trying to reduce ipad time for my son now or do you think it is ok to have different rules for each?

OP posts:
livpotter · 27/07/2019 08:36

My ds sounds very like yours, he's a bit younger (almost 6). He like your ds is also much more productive and relaxed if he has an iPad/tv on. I think we've made the decision now that reduce anxiety and stress in the house that we just let him have as much screen time as he wants.

My dd (NT) is nearly 4 and is only just starting to be aware that the rules are different for her and her brother. She is much more willing to be in another room doing crafts or being out in the garden while ds is watching screens. She's not as glued to screens as ds is and often will play with her dolls house or do imaginary play while the screen is on. We also use it as an opportunity to practice turn taking ie ds gets to choose a programme then dd does.

Ds often uses the ipad to try and communicate with dd. He'll show her pictures or use the camera function and they will take pictures together.

I've also found that sometimes ds will listen to music from films he likes instead of watching a screen, which is something dd and ds enjoy doing together.

Not sure if I've really answered your question but that is how it usually works in our house.

ElstreeViaduct · 27/07/2019 20:02

I think you will figure things out as you go along. Rules are often different between siblings especially with wider age gaps. There are few ways in which you'd consistently treat a 2 and 10 year old the same really. Even with much closer spaced, NT children some rules will be different - one will have a phone and they other won't, for example. We have one child who's strictly limited on tablet use and another who isn't. Both are able and verbal and they're only 2 years apart. I'm not saying it will always be easy but I think it will just be one of the many things that just evolves as your children grow. Stick with what works with your son.

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