7 year old son w/ Aspergers, SPD, ADHD, PTSD.......please help me

Pamela - posted on 11/09/2011 ( 26 moms have responded )

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He has been in outpatient counseling since age 4 for behavioral issues. His father was arrested for Domestic Violence and we split, in our case there was difficulty "seeing" and getting the Dx because the clinicians were only seeing that he had been traumatized, which he had.

His dad has Aspergers, Tourettes, Epilepsy. Finally, they began to explore that perhaps there was indeed a neurological thing in addition to the "trauma model" at play here.

My problem is that at school he is mostly doing well. Some problems there: He still cannot tie his shoes and is almost 8. He still cannot swing on a swing set. The kids are beginning to make fun of him. No matter how many times I have tried to teach him he has a poor frustration tolerance and gets impatient if he can't do it correctly the first time.

When he comes home from school he is hair-trigger irritable and becomes VERY agressive towards me if things don't go his way or if there is any deviation from what he thought the routine was going to be or go like. He can hit, throw chairs, bite me, punch me, kick me when he has meltdowns. There is no reasoning with him when he is like this. The more I try and talk with him the more escalated he gets.

I have tried all incentive programs, sticker charts, time-outs and I am not a permissive parent that doesnt follow through. I am just like super nanny, I have put him back into time outs many many many times. But they do not work. It does not extinguish his assaultiveness. Traditional play therapy is not extingishing his meltdowns.

Is this just my child? Please be blunt. What do I do? I am a single mother I am so worn down. I want to help my child but don't even know how to. The therapist don't know how to.

We just got this diagnosis 5 months ago. Get this, the school system has him on a 504 and says since he does "so well" during the school day that they feel he doens't really need the support of a sensory diet, the Wilbarger program that was recommended or anything else anymore!!! They talk about him as if he is neurotypical. And yet everyday in walks to my home a TOTALLY differnt child.

I feel like I am going insane. I have no support, and wouldn't you know it, there are no other special needs kids where I live. I am the only parent (apparently) in this school dealing with this.

I feel so alone.

My child is the only 7 year old that still assaults me and I don't know what to do to help "fix" him? the counselors don't either, I am scared.
The "Tenex" he takes hasn't done anything for him either......

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Judi - posted on 11/16/2011

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Respite is something that you get in Australia, if your really luck, have no family support and know how to cry on the phone. B**er being proud admit that you need help in the most desperate way with officials, contact your local Autism service provide (stop laughing they are out there).

hammocks etc and where to get them: Because I don't work and don't have a lot of money the $89 one on the net are out of our league so I made my own: At the local fabric store get about 1.5 metres (yard and a 1/2) of lycra from thet hardware store get some metal rings and 4/8 metal clips that close and if your ceilings really high 4 equal lengths of chain, tie (Really tightly) the four rings to the corners of the lycra. In a room put up 4 hooks (in the beams not just the ceiling). One hamock, big cushions in a corner of the room to dive into (single quilt cover filled with foam offcuts and sewn up is good), I ball pit? IKEA swings (yeah). Also check out sensoryshop.com or places like that. tunnels are from toystores or IKEA. You could go in 1 room: through the tunnel, roll around on a swiss ball, dive into cushions wheel barrow race (on his hands you holding his legs uparound the room and then go backwards. Let him pick his favourite one and repeat it - expand it to some pretend play. Even just wrapping him in a quilt and squeezing around the hips and shoulders may help.

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Christina - posted on 12/19/2011

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My daughter was able to finally et ABA in Ontario, Canada, when she was about 12 years old..and it helped a lot. It really depends on who is giving the ABA whether or not it proves beneficial. good therapists can be successful with any child, whereas poor instructors...are just poor instructors.
Time outs definitely don't work for kids who are "crying out" for help when they behave the way that they do. Instead of a "time out" they need to be taught self-regulation...such as finding a quiet spot to calm themselves... Where they don't feel they are eing ostracized for bad behaviour, but instead are being helped at learning to self-regulate and learning to calm themseles through differentt echniques.

Toni - posted on 12/19/2011

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Hi,
In NY they uses ABA at a young age, it helped Shane at 13 months. Once the child is older than 6 usually ABA doesn't work as well. this week my son emailed me from school to say HI. is teacher helped him. it brought us to tears. I just got papers on respite for anyone who live on LongIsland NY I can email a copy...

Danielle - posted on 12/19/2011

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my son doesnt respond to time outs punishments or rewards hes behaviour is v similar and he is 4 i have been told the best thing to do is neutrolise the situation and compromise as anything else is just asking for more confrontation and him getting worked up this has really helped with his behaviour....

Robyn - posted on 12/18/2011

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Hey
OMG was the first reaction to reading this thread, I feel so much for you as I too do deal with very much this, reading your words was like every afternoon exactly for me, my god im not alone .....all I can say is try to stay positive, some of the suggestions im going to apply to my 6yr old girl with aspergiers, I often wonder weather people truly understand, finding this site is like a godsend that we are not alone, when I tell people about my daughters behaviour, they look at me like " typical single mum in housing commision, no control ect" when they really get to see my daughter in action they crumble to adult tears and runaway, the only people left now are my true freinds and family, as mums we got to stay strong...for our kids. just one thing have you the option of after school care for a day aweek, that might give you some respite, my daughter goes on a monday and thats the least day of her explosive behaviour
regards robyn

Christina - posted on 12/17/2011

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what does SEPTA sand for? can you provide a link to them for the apps info?

Christina - posted on 12/17/2011

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hi Pamela
first, take a deep breath and know there are others out here who want to help as best we can.
the act your son is dpong well at school is a huge positive...and likely is a huge effort on his part to fit in and appear neurotypical. it likely takes enormous effort on his part to do so!

when he comes home he feels like exploding...and that is why none of the stickers and incentive programs are really working for him. He really could benefit from a few things.
1) an ASd/Aspergers peer support program. find out if you can get him into something like this.
2) A physical activity/program after school where he can et out a lot of his internalized stress from the day. this is what he could use more that incentives to continue to be calm and compliant when he really is like a volcano that needs to errupt! He has so much stress and frustration...that by the time he es home, where he can be "himself" and act out ...because he knows you love him and will always forgive his behaviour...tyat he is "safe" with you. This actually is really hard on a parent...our kids are hardest on us because they know we will remain consant for them. But it also means tyat he needs other outlets for dealin with these things. find out about any ASD/Asperger support groups in your area...and any social services which can help in behaviour management for your son...he has to have outlets and he has to learn to self-regulate as. Well.

If you need more school supports and they don't see the "needs" are present...then you need to get external professionals to provide you with documenation which says otherwise. Such as doctors, social workers...aain, see if any local ASd/Aspergers association can elp.

I am a Canadian, so cannot elp you with that particular area, but
I think your son finds life very difficult and is doing very well to be able to hold it together at school. My son also had the same physical problems you mentioned....He can learn to overcome some of these. Only someone who really undersands ASD/Aspergers and behavioural management can really elp you with his lashing out. Swimming is a particularly good axtivity for him to go into as it will enable him to get his energy out, stress out of his system, and also gives his body "feedback" with the waer pushing on his body when immersed.

Best of luck.
christina
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Gina - posted on 12/17/2011

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I agree with Toni. Using technology would be a huge help for helping him to communicate his true needs and wants. Also, there are social stories in books and videos and other autism and special needs books. A friend who exemplies good behavior should also help. Autism resource centers across the country will provide rereferrals in your area. Other resources are developmental pediatricians, social services, children hospitals, and organizations that deal with all disabilities in your state. Don't forget getting support for yourself, which is just as important.

Pamela - posted on 12/02/2011

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Alison,
wow, what a great bunch of ideas! I so appreciate all of them. It makes sense to get some of his physical stuff out first before the time-out. Thank you very much for all those suggestion. I wonder since i don't have a lot of space in my apartment, if having him jump on a trampoline (small one) would have the same effect? Thank you :)

Alison - posted on 11/21/2011

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I feel for you.
This might be far reaching but a lot of children on the spectrum have a lot of energy and don't sleep well and have trouble regulating their bodies and have a strong need for structure and routine.
My son isn't on a sensory diet but I take him to swimming lessons twice a week. The water does him wonders. (A lot of therapists have recommended swimming. It helps so much with their sensory issues.) It's the happiest I see him all week! We also have pillow fights and on weekend I blow up an air mattress and him jump to his hearts content.
Karate or another martial arts class might be nice because he's learning self-discipline, structure, routine, motoring gross motor skills, with a group of peers but is working independently.
Time-outs don't work for us either. My therapist recommended having him do a hard labor task like running up and down the stairs or pushing heavy boxes across the floor for 5 to 10 minutes before putting him in timeout. The physical task helps release some of the energy and clears the mind. Then have him sit in timeout to think about what he did wrong and what he should have done.
We keep a real tight routine at home and limit TV. And it's exhausting but our entire focus is on our son. The more routines we build in and stick to, the easier it is for my son. And we try to laugh and play.
My heart going out to you because you can't do this alone. Try to find a support group and take care of yourself.

Toni - posted on 11/20/2011

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A lot of these supplies u can get on eBay...I think you need to research a lot of it. U can apply for respite...they have it in NY ...I use it 1 day a week..my girlfriend gets it 4 days a week...

Janet - posted on 11/20/2011

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Hey Pamela, I saw you on another post and I hope all these great suggestions are helping!



My daughter gets reports home of "being so good all day" and things too. It used to frustrate me to death because she was so wound up at home! I went into the school and saw it for myself (I go when the school is having something special so that the class has some extra support because all of the kids are excited and a handful!) and noticed that she looked so stressed... but was so good and quiet... and it dawned on me. She tries so hard to be typical. All day she stresses and tries not to get out of line. In fact, she tries so hard, she's the quietest kid in the class! When she gets home.. she gets to be her - and she lets it all hang out! So, with her at home, I still do the planning that I mentioned in my last post to you - but I also let her just be herself for a bit.. run outside... sing loudly... play her radio loud... whatever she needs to tune us out for a bit, because even I need to tune out the world sometimes. Then, I engage her with a silly activity of our own. We have "races" every day - and some days she lets me win. We "shake it off" if we've had a bad day - where we make silly faces and shake like we have huge monkey arms and legs. Then, after our quiet time and silly time... we do our homework, have our nightly routine, read stories and go to bed!



Boy can I talk.. but I guess my point is, is that we all need our time to just be us. If our kids are getting reports of being awesome at school - maybe the teachers aren't paying attention.. or maybe the kids are just awesome at school - but at home, it can be a safe place for them to relax, get their wiggles out, let go of their frustration of the day and take comfort that their mommies will be there to not let them get out of control - to bring them back to the world before they get lost again.



Good luck!

(edited cuz I put the first line in there twice.. I dunno how I did that!!)

Pamela - posted on 11/16/2011

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Judi!!!!!! Please Please Please tell me where to get some of these supplies like the stretchy hammock thingy for my house? I have seen one at his former pre- school, where do I learn how to do deep pressure protocol, his OT at the hospital got laid off and was just about to teach me the Wilbarger protocol and was doing smushes with this big ball.....I have no HELP......i am so frustrated beyond measure I feel like I hvae no tools in my tool belt. I don't own and I Pad, but I have an HP desktop, maybe I will end up buying on if it will be worth that app alone. please write back if you can write any more ideas on things I can buy to set up said mini daily sensory obstacle course routine in my home!!!

Judi - posted on 11/16/2011

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Could you setup a routine at home with a "timetable"/picture schedule on the wall at home this means there is routine at home. Maybe adding a "deep pressure"time as the first thing you do when you get home, something like climbing in a stretchey hamock, an obsticle course through tunnels and and other sensory things. iPad has a free app call "Autism apps" that lists a whole lot of apps for autism.
Social stories explaining what SHOULD happen. Check about an OT that works with emotional play to expand those feelings.

Oh and on you being single, well done for your courage and strength, but now, it's time for you to get respite setup. You are there 24/7 (and sometimes manage to squeeze another hour out of the ay) so you need a break too. Be formal or informal if you do it all you'll wipe yourself out, if you give yourself a break you'll be back on track for the next lot and challanges.

Pamela - posted on 11/13/2011

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Katy,

I will have to check my specific insurance plan to see if this is covered, but I will be overjoyed if it is covered and would like to begin utilizing it immediately. I am truly in the throws of it, and being a single parent it is 24/7 and I do'nt get any relief other than when he is asleep or in school. To answer your previous question, there is much much less problems at school and I attribute that to it being a highly structured enviornment. However, when he does have a problem, it is usually during unstructured times like recess, or phys. ed. or times in which he much transition to another activity that he thought he would have longer time to do. He is very rigid and inflexible in his thinking. He tends to perseverate on ideas/thoughts. He tends to be very concrete and follows this social justice theme of equity at almost any cost. FAIRNESS is very important to him. He beocmes very upset if other kids are not following rules, though paradoxically, if he feels he may lose at a particular game he does not act age appropriately and behaves much younger than his peers and may actually throw himself on the ground or even cheat so he doesnt lose, go figure that one? He is very verbal....Talks incessantly. People mistake his great vocabulary and verbal skills and IQ or above average intelligence for him being "all set". He has severe deficits in social/emotional/behavioral development as well as weak trunk muscles, visual tracking and a whole host of other problems. But I digress.

Katy - posted on 11/13/2011

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Hi Pamela, I would also recommend ABA Therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis). Coverage will depend on your insurance company, and which state you live in. There are 28 states in the US that have insurance mandates to cover Autism Spectrum Services, including ABA. Does your son exhibit this behavior at school as well?

Toni - posted on 11/10/2011

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Grace - Gracefully help autistic and other special needs children to communicate effectively by building sentences from relevant images to form sentences.

Toni - posted on 11/10/2011

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Septa is
PTA for handicap children in NY...They r very helpful...all programs can be downloaded to an iPad or iPod......I walked in ur shoes...so I know...This has helped us..

Toni - posted on 11/10/2011

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Hi yes, apple store has programs just for kids...I just went to a seminar on it... SEPTA website also will list a bunch...?they r try as u go...A lot r free...u wld have to see which one ur child can relate too. we use it for Shane ...it has doubled his language and calmed his behavior

Pamela - posted on 11/10/2011

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Toni, the Ipad, where do I find the software for Autism? is there a specific program you found helpful? is there a name of it? I have no idea how to help avoid meltdowns. I am just so tired and worn out with them. I also feel bad for him b/c i don't know whats causing them......

Toni - posted on 11/10/2011

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Hi, our son Shane is severely Autistic and behavioral ....We have had great success with using the IPad and IPod .They have programs made just for autistic children...Shane is non verbal and now has 100 words

Pamela - posted on 11/09/2011

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thank you so much for your reply. wonder where you get a punching bag? maybe like a sporting goods store. I had thought of that before, then I was afraid it would re-inforce the pathways in his brain for punching. maybe I over thought it. I was hoping there would be something out there that could calm him down that didn't involve agression LOL. THANKS again for your reply Tammy :)

Tammy - posted on 11/09/2011

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Hi, I feel for you, I really do. The only advice I could suggest is try to praise him for something good ten times for ever correction. The other issue I thought of is maybe being such a great child at school is tough on him n he might need to let out steam when he gets home, n unfortunately u r his only target. Have you ever thought of getting him a punching bag. Maybe he needs to spend 20 minutes with one every day. Model for him. Punch the bag n state your feelings...I'm so frustrated whack etc...

Anyways I don't know if this will work, I can't say I've have been in your shoes cause I haven't. Just two of my ideas, n sometimes the people outside looking in can be more of a hindrance then a help, but try them who knows.

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