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Featured Please - need help with our autistic son

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by ocmf1702, May 7, 2019.

  1. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    It's been noted by a number of people already that punishment is not the way to solve this problem. We're autistic adults who have been where your son is now @ocmf1702 and we've lived with the consequences. The refusal of my own parents and their insistence on trying to change me into something I couldn't be drove an immovable wedge between us. I don't want the same to happen between you and your son.

    PDA is a very real phenomenon, but it can be avoided. The best, most successful parents of autistic kids, those who have loving relationships with them as adults understand that punishment causes confusion and resentment that leads to PDA, whereas friendship, respect and helping them grow up by respecting their boundaries, allowing them to be who they are, rather than what you want them to be, gives them and you the best chance of a happy future.

    Stop searching for a punishment that works. It'll be a fruitless search and will only damage your child and your relationship with him if you do. Instead learn to get inside his head and learn FROM HIM. What triggers the behaviour you don't like, what makes him sensitive - work out what it is that you are doing to make him shut down? Only by amending your own approach and treating him as an equal rather than a discipline problem, will you stand a chance of success.

    Please don't think me harsh. I truly want you and your son to be happy together, and the idea of any autistic child being separated from their parents is a chilling thought. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but you have to take responsibility for this problem rather than blaming his autism.

    What you are calling "challenging behaviour" is his reaction to stresses. You've observed that when you punish the "challenges" become more distressing to you. Imagine how he must be feeling at those times? That's why he won't cooperate. He's confused, stressed and scared. Only by eliminating that do you and he stand a chance.

    This is true to some degree in all children, but autistic people like those who have answered you can attest that we feel things more intensely than allistic people. Stress builds up quickly and we can melt or shut down. The world can be brighter, noisier, smellier and more all round offensive to us than most would believe. We often have a profound sense of right and wrong, of justice and fairness from a very young age. My father used to say things like "stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about!" whilst raising his hand to me. That would make me cry more, so I would get beaten. That would put me into catatonia for days. I can never forgive him that. Why couldn't he just have asked why I was distressed, shown me some compassion and helped me solve it?

    There's an old adage...
    "Spare the rod, spoil the child"
    It's nonsense.
    "Wield the rod, lose the child" - is the truth.

    I hope you come to understand and start to improve your relationship with your son, which will in turn make both his, and your life immeasurably happier :)
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  2. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

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    I don't have relevant experience for the more substantial advice. You are getting impressively good advice here and I just wanted to emphasise a few words.

    Behaviour is communication. They often say this is the key to challenging behaviour, what is he trying to say?

    I am amazed how popular this is:D:D. My children too :eek:. The big idea is choose your battles.

    Did you try visual schedules [sorry if you did say]- drawing a sequence of actions to perform like out of bed, toilet, washing, put shirt on, put pants on etc. Stick it to the wall for a few weeks. Put together the outfit and display it on hangers in his room. Don't tell to wear it, just display. Keep on showing it, maybe he will start acting on it of his own initiative?

    That include parents of autistics who put pressure on you to compete on perfect parenting of autistic children and homeschool for example. Do what feels right for you and your child.


    Totally, relax, don't over control things.

    Sounds like.
     
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  3. RosaViolet

    RosaViolet Well-Known Member

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    Remember that autism is a different way of being.

    Different way of being

    So coercing and controlling him into being different is the worst possible cause of action. It won't work and could create trauma and resentment.

    Autistic people experience it as abuse. I don't mean to say you do that, clearly not, you are clearly a loving parent trying to do the right thing in difficult circumstances.
     
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  4. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    With my son who is also autistic, we just have him sleep in the clothes he's going to wear the next day. This alleviates a lot of the dressing stress. My son will also sometimes not want to dress himself and would prefer to run around naked forever after a bath. But we stick to our guns and have a routine and he seems to be getting better. Oftentimes less is more, so the less you have to do, the more you get accomplished. Sleeping in pajamas is just a social norm, not a law of nature that cannot be broken.
    Like others have said too get him multiple sets of the same clothes that he's comfortable with. I'm similar in that way. I will only wear certain clothes. Most clothes irritate me in a way that's difficult to describe, except for that it feels almost like not being able to breathe in a way. I am also on the spectrum. I think it's a common issue for some of us.
     
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  5. ImSensing

    ImSensing Active Member

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    As everyone has said, patience and kindness is what’s needed. He’s really struggling here and he’s panicking about being in situations that make him uncomfortable. He can’t just accept that he has to go every day or every week, no matter how much you want him to. Please give him extra TLC sensitivity and not resistance or punishment when he’s acting difficult. He’s acting difficult because he’s stressed and upset.
    He has actually been giving you signals “I don’t know what to do” “What should I wear” and he’s stuck, unable to decide. His brain must so often be struggling to process the world around him, all the way down to his basic likes and dislikes. He’s probably aware things are harder for him and he doesn’t understand why.
    Your kindness and understanding that he’s not just trying to difficult is the biggest gift you can give him. There are often support groups for parents with the county. Are you getting help from his doctors about how to help him behaviorally? There are low cost/ no cost programs for parents of minors to work with parents of special needs children within many cities (sometimes posted online) or you can call your insurance. It’s only going to help your son and yourselves in the long run.
     
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  6. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    Just one thing to point out, if you aren't aware of it already....

    Please, for the love of God, do not under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES expose him to ABA (Applied Behaviour Therapy) or any of it's supposed "kinder" derivatives, however hard it is sold to you.

    It will destroy him and be the worst decision you ever made. It's heavily promoted by medical insurance companies, but it will destroy your son from the inside. You might see some "improvements" that make your life easier, but it will corrode his soul beyond recognition and mess up his life forever.
     
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  7. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    Have you tried laying out a choice of three or four sets of clothing that you know he can wear out and asking him to choose? Autistic people often need to feel that they are in control for things to be acceptable, and that would be a good way for him to feel in control and for you to achieve your objectives.

    As others have suggested, could be that he doesn't want to go to school or church because of the various difficulties those environments may present, in which case, you need to address those issues befor eyou address the clothes issues.
     
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  8. H-Kath

    H-Kath Active Member

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    Sometimes it gets this bad for my partner when she's going into a situation where she's anticipating being triggered. Trying to push through only makes it worse. There's a lot of trauma going on there around being punished for acting autistic. She has to strip down, stand in the shower (no water) with her arms out and calm down before she can try again. Stress makes mine worse too. It's not as severe for me but for reference I'm suddenly very aware of all of my hair, patches of my skin feel raw like a fresh tattoo or nasty sunburn, and all of the more sensitive areas of my skin feel almost like this itch I can't scratch if anything touches them and I *have* to remove whatever it is or I'll explode. Sitting or leaning on things itches. Lately, I've been noting the materials comfortable things are made with and getting multiple when I find something that works.

    My girlfriend does get *very* as a matter of fact when she's having an intense episode. I can see how that can seem condescending but she's too overwhelmed to control her voice when this is happening. There've been times when she's shouted things like "How does that help?" in response to a suggestion, had that taken as rejection of the idea, and had to repeat herself a few times to communicate that she'd wanted a literal answer to the question. I tend to shout-talk when I'm overwhelmed too, it's not anger toward the person. It's extreme frustration with what's happening internally.

    Obviously, I don't know what's going on with your son but hopefully, this helps you find a way to communicate with him about this. Given that it's been getting worse I'd be concerned about his anxiety. Does he stim? He might need to in order to manage it. I was made to stop as a child and it was the most destructive thing that happened with my anxiety. Relearning them as tools has been crucial to the progress I've made. (It works as well for me as a prescription drug.) When my partner's incredibly upset she does have a couple harmful stims, but we've figured out ways to prevent harm and redirect her into another.

    This is a common theme in blogs written by adults on the matter. I've been told this statistic sounds low but half the people that received the intervention that participated in this study have PTSD:

    Kupferstein, H. (2018). Evidence of increased PTSD symptoms in autistics exposed to applied behavior analysis. Advances in Autism, 19-29

    https://www.researchgate.net/public...utistics_exposed_to_applied_behavior_analysis
     
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  9. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    Consider cyber school. It is available in some states in the US A few that I know allow cyber are CA, PA, TX, ID, NC. The states it is available in comes out of your tax dollars if you aren't looking at private ones. At least you're working with people through the computer who are certified as taking care of the non-academic pieces will already be more than enough for you.
     
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  10. Pinkie B

    Pinkie B Just Me

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    Sounds like me when I was younger. Wow.
     
  11. Pinkie B

    Pinkie B Just Me

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    I just want to say that the OP really makes my heart happy. Seeing you struggle and make mistakes, but genuinely want to help and seek out that help where you could actually find help, instead of just looking for people to reinforce the idea that he is a bad child and your frustration is justified...that's the kind of thing you never see people do and it's the kind of love that we (not just autistics, but everybody) need for this world to be a place worth living in.

    So trod on! You're not perfect and you've made lots of mistakes already that have made your son's life worse.

    But that's not the point. The point is that you're trying your best to make his life better while still recognizing your own needs and your own humanity. That right there is hero work!

    I myself am childless. I never found a partner I felt safe enough to make a family with so I can't give you the kind of tried-and-true experiences of others, but I think maybe I can add something to the discussion.

    Try to adjust your expectations.

    Your son may never be able to function according to the standards that neurotypicals hold themselves and others to. Meltdowns are likely going to be a regular part of the rest of his and your lives. I'm 34 and have lots of fancy degrees and I just had a meltdown today because the delivery service wouldn't deliver my bicycle to the airport for me. Full on panic right there in my office with the door open...

    So, while the world is not going to make accommodations for you or your son because he has a diagnosis and because things are harder, and while you can definitely improve, but never cure autism, it may be a good time to start adjusting yourself to a different standard of achievement. Late and missed appointments are possibly part of the rest of his future. Meltdowns and immense failure at what appear to be simple daily life maintenance tasks may be his normal. If you can adjust your expectations to account for the fact that no matter how well you and your son do, you may never be able to do what you "should" be able to do, then perhaps the pressure will release and these morning failures won't feel quite so devastating. Just try to work his difficulties into your schedule in advance as best you can.

    And be kind to yourself and your son when you don't get it perfect.
     
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  12. Joshua Aaron

    Joshua Aaron Autistic Bisexual

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    Try an online school program such as Connections Academy. It's free and basically public school, but online and you don't have to leave your home. It's owned by Pearson, too.

    Also, your child might have sensory issues, which may be why he doesn't like getting dressed in the morning. Target has an entire clothing line that is advertised as sensory-friendly.

    Also, I suggest to not spank your child at all. Not only is all spanking potentially illegal, but it may actually traumatize your him. Autistic children tend to be traumatized and/or scared more easily.
     
  13. Joshua Aaron

    Joshua Aaron Autistic Bisexual

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    I agree with this. You should talk to your son rather than punishing him. Unless you want your child to have "daddy issues" later on, then go right on ahead.