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intro - OverwhelmedDad


New Member
Hi all, thanks so much for taking a minute to read this.
Im looking to learn a lot here and be able to help my daughter more, as well as just vent/talk, as I really don't have anyone besides my wife to talk to about this. My daughter, 5, was just diagnosed as being on the spectrum, and has some very unique ummm hangups in life. Anxiety, selective mutism, obsessive behavior. But other than that she is an absolute light and has a super sharp wit, the sweetest of our 3 kids, and has an amazing sense of humor.
My wife has degrees in childhood development, and wants to council children like this one day when the kids are older. Right now she's stuck at home doing the mom thing. I'm trying to play catch up with learning, basically.
Some of the harder parts seem to be what to do when she obsesses. For example she counts down days to certain events, and gets super-upset when we run out of something or are close to running out of something...even ketchup or the silliest thing she'll start to cry and my wife and I have no idea what to do in these instances.
anyway, sorry so long...look forward to discussions with y'all!
Hi Dad

welcome to af.png
Welcome to the group. I wish I could say things will be easy, or that there is an easy solution for you and your wife in handling those situations, as things may be difficult, and as there is not one solution, as each child on the Spectrum has different tolerances, abilities, and needs, and with similar Autism core issues that could vary though in how they show up and with regards to severity.

My wife and I have two small Autistic sons and each has to be handled and treated differently, as our 6 year old is nonverbal and with moderate Autism and severe ADHD, while our 8 year old is high functioning Autistic or Aspergers. Only through trial and error did we know what things we had tried for their behavioral issues had either no affect, worked, or made things worse. But, as new parents, lots of research helped too, so we ruled out things that we knew would likely be harmful.

Once we learned each child had such conditions, and knew much about the general core signs and symptoms that could be apart of each, we could reasonsbly predict what limitations and behaviors for each child could possibly be attributed to their conditions, and which could be just a typical sign of their personality or development. Our goal, regardless the reason for behavior, was to minimize the number of daily meltdowns and duration, and so we tried various things.

In general, when sensory issues are involved, we had to remove those triggers, lessen them, or get a sensory need, or understand those and not try to see that behavior as wrong. When dangerous routines were involved, we had to let them know it was wrong, in the best way for each child, preferably using logic though, and divert the child to other activity. When other reasonable ritualistic needs were involved, admittedly we often went with the flow there. Also, often we had and have to think one step ahead of our children to prevent future issues, after becoming aware of their specific desires and needs.

What makes things tough is not only do we see a child with special needs that we want to instinctively help and show even more care and love, hoping to make life as comfortable as possible for them, but by doing so we as parents may have to swallow our pride and do things repetitively, and do many things that may seem very unreasonably in our mind, that we would not have ordinarily done as a parent of a typical child. But, to not do so could create even bigger chaos. Just understand for most things, the child has those real needs because of sensory or genetic issue, obsessive need, or as their mind says it is an emergency, or an urgent comfort need. So, they are not doing these things on purpose, nor are parents like you doing wrong if the behavior seems bizare.

The good news is some things can get better, as the child ages and can be reasoned with, and after the parents understand more and more the mind of an Autistic child. Our oldest son is very functional and social now. He love science, math, his ipad apps, and singing. He is very polite and caring, and is a sweet child to all. Our youngest still has a ways to go, but we are focusing in the meantime on not just understanding and accepting, but appreciating those differences, and any delays or issues out of their and our control, and as any current unchangeable traits, signs or systems in our sons makes them endearing and special, and so why fret over that.

The fact you as a Dad came here to learn more and get support shows you care about your child, and that your wife wants to learn and help in her mentioned ways as well, it shows you both want to be strong as possible for your child. I have done the same for our children, by being the strongest and most caring I can be through all my past and present efforts, and my wife has helped me much too. On this forum I do wish we had more parents talk about their experiences though. If you ever need to chat privately too, to get any support or advice, feel free to message that way, too.
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I like everything you wrote except the word "sorry". Don't apologize for expressing yourself and your concerns. Both you and your wife sound very supportive. You are going to do your daughter a world of good.

Welcome to this forum. I hope that you find it useful. I'd recommend trying one topic at a time, searching the existing conversations, and then posting your questions either in an existing post or a new one.
Welcome Overwhelmed. I hope you gain some insights that'll help you here.
Hello Overwhelmed Dad :)

With the ketchup thing you mention, I had a dry wipe white board in the kitchen and the dry wipe pens right next to it. (Some pictures too - magnetic photo paper is good)

My children could either let me know and I’d write it or they wrote on or stuck a picture to the board.

-they went through phases of liking the same thing so we took pictures of it, ketchup for example. When the food fads changed so did the photos.

They knew the shopping trip happened same time every week and they could choose the item from the supermarket shelf.

So yes, running low on condiments or foods was a ‘thing’ for one of mine but it was ‘on the board’ and they could depend on that shopping trip happening without fail.
That seemed to ease some of the worry.
They always helped me shop, it turned into a bit of a game eventually.

I guess when you’re five years old, many, many things can be confusing and worrying so nothing ought to be regarded as silly.

Try to see her life through her eyes and really get creative with ways to help her.

I hope you have a look around the forum, there’s tons of posts on various subjects.
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i am an older aspie, so there was no real name for it while i was a child other than being called 'difficult' 'unhappy child' 'maladjusted' etc

so i don't blame my parents for not really knowing how best to deal with me

in an ideal world, it would have been great if:
- they could have acknowledged i was different, but that that was ok, helped me feel ok with myself, as it is, that only happened in my mid 30's
- they could have helped me better understand what my strengths were, as i tend to always be more aware of my shortcomings
- i was emotionally distant to my parents, i was told that i was cold and manipulative, to this day i don't think they get me or understand how i express emotions, it would have been great to have felt accepted and understood

sry, no answer about the ketchup :)
Hi Overwhelmed Dad,
You have already been given some great advice and I do understand what you are going through. My children are a lot older. My son of 19 has Asperger's and works full time ,has great friends and a girlfriend.
my daughter of 13 was not lucky enough to be diagnosed because of focus being on myself as a single parent or her need to 'copy' her brother according to professionals. she is very different from her brother though with different traits and different reactions and it is a massive learning curve once again. she too has a great sense of humour and a kind soul who adores animals and I admit most of our focus is having animals, caring for animals or looking at animals. It can take a long time to predict possible problems before they happen and sometimes just as you think you know , they change the rules ☺ I painted my kitchen door with blackboard paint so they could talk to me thru that and remind me that things needed to be brought. You learn to walk them through situations step by step and for some you need a travel bag just for them with anything in it that may comfort or distract them. There is lots of great advice out there and yes you.may find yourself stock piling ketchup. They will worry about things you would never think of and so it takes practise to put yourselves into their shoes and think as they may be thinking. You will do a great job because you cared enough to research and learn. They are lucky children and don't worry as we all self doubt.
my daughter of 13 was not lucky enough to be diagnosed because of focus being on myself as a single parent or her need to 'copy' her brother according to professionals.

You know what, I think this might be a thing. I've seen it happen. I'm far far on the spectrum, I know it's not a medical term but I would say acute aspergers. My 9 year old definitely shows signs but not as pronounced. However, my husband and my 5 year old most definitely do not. But... my husband and I have been together for 20 years and he now "mimics" some of my behavior. For example, he will point out when his mother is "exhibiting symptoms of martyr syndrome" and rationalize that it's probably because of her upbringing. Or he will see something in black and white and seek a binary resolution. Subsequently, I consider peoples opinions and consider societal norms.

So I do think that NTs can mimic autistic behavior and traits over time if sufficiently exposed. I mean it does make more sense .... :) And that might create a logical human without the sensitivities and overload, best of both worlds.

My daughter, 5, was just diagnosed as being on the spectrum

Welcome :) We are all unique. Has she been diagnosed with classic autism, sensitivities etc?

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