discipline strategies for 7YO w/high-func. autism?

Amber - posted on 04/02/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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My son, Sebastian, was diagnosed with high-functioning autism/Aspergers last year. (After a 3 year battle to get SOMEONE to listen to me and take me seriously.) He is in regular classes at school, and is in 1st grade. (He is 7 years old, turning 8 in September) He is close to genius level IQ, and receives no special services. however, disciplining him is a challenge. He tends to be VERY hyper-active and takes things apart, particularily his brother's things. (His brother is 13 months older and they share a room.) Also, the kids at school and on the bus are starting to make fun of him for his quirks, which upsets him further, as he really wants to be friends with the other kids.



Does anyone have ANY suggestions as to how we can better handle discipline, etc? He has Medicaid, and we are on a waiting list to see a developmentalist. It was originally suggested that we seek ABA treatment, but our previous insurance didn't cover it, and we couldn't afford it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated... we often feel overwhelmed with him! hanks!

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Maria - posted on 04/15/2009

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Quoting Rebecca:

i loved reading everyones replies. My 7 year old has atypical aspergers and each morning is a dilemma for us. Tyler is quite religious in playing with hia bionilce toys each morning. From the moment he wakes he lines them up, plays make believe, scatters them all round the house and only focus' on the toys each morning! This causes lots of stress on school mornings as eating breakfast, packing bag etc is not on his agenda at all. I start encouraging Tyler to get dressed about half an hour after waking and its a long long process and I have tried many of ways like it sounds you too have. I have tried assisting, positive encouragment, yelling, ignoring just to name a few. Honestly, I have learnt to accept that this is what we are going to incur most mornings and I feel like I have exhausted all avenues and this is going to be a struggle that is ongoing!! But in saying so, I still try each and every morning to pull him out of "his world". Whether this is correct is debatable indeed. We just have to trust our judgment of the way we parent our own children - there is no right or wrong way!


Have you tried playing with the toys with him and incorporating your morning routine with them...my friend did this with Thomas the train.  At first, sat down and actually played with them and had them "talking" about getting ready for the day etc.  She later said things like..."lets play with Thomas in the bathroom and brush our teeth"   It still took a long time,but cut down on the power struggles... You may have already tried something like this, but I thought I would pass it on in case it helped!

Rebecca - posted on 04/15/2009

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i loved reading everyones replies. My 7 year old has atypical aspergers and each morning is a dilemma for us. Tyler is quite religious in playing with hia bionilce toys each morning. From the moment he wakes he lines them up, plays make believe, scatters them all round the house and only focus' on the toys each morning! This causes lots of stress on school mornings as eating breakfast, packing bag etc is not on his agenda at all. I start encouraging Tyler to get dressed about half an hour after waking and its a long long process and I have tried many of ways like it sounds you too have. I have tried assisting, positive encouragment, yelling, ignoring just to name a few. Honestly, I have learnt to accept that this is what we are going to incur most mornings and I feel like I have exhausted all avenues and this is going to be a struggle that is ongoing!! But in saying so, I still try each and every morning to pull him out of "his world". Whether this is correct is debatable indeed. We just have to trust our judgment of the way we parent our own children - there is no right or wrong way!

Tracy - posted on 04/13/2009

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Hi Amber.  I just joined this group and think it is a great idea.  Your message just happened to be the first one I read.  Interestingly enough, I have a 9 year old son with high-functioning Autism.  We have been through about 5 years of tough times with him.  He has a lot of behavior issues too, but we have him in a private school with special teachers that are trained to help with those kinds of issues....so we are blessed that way.....even though it has not been an easy road. 



You have been given some great advice here.  I read what some of the other Mom's have said.  I agree with most of it.  My son is bothered by sound, so I find that the morning rush can be quite stressful on him.  So we make sure that we get up early enough and leave extra time for any "breakdowns" that may occur. 



One thing that I have learned is that if I constantly talk to him and try to push him to get ready, he shuts down completely.  If you can imaging someone poking you in one spot of yoru body for about 20 minutes straight - you can imagine the feelings of frustration that would eventually arise.  Some Autistic kids can feel that way when someone is in their face and pushing them to do-do-do.  They just want that noise (pain to them) to stop.  So with our son, we talk less and use more hand jestures, pointing to things that we want him to do instead of giving him the verbal commands.  It helps for him.  We also used pictures for him to learn his morning routine.  He has a list of pictures of things he must do (brush hair, brush teeth, eat, get dressed, etc...) before we leave.  I am finding that the older he gets, the less we use the pictures.  The schedule is already ingrained in his mind.



Also, one thing that we've had to look at is his diet.  Some Autistic children are bothered by different foods.  For some it is dairy.  For others it is gluten.  With our son, he seems to be bothered when he eats suger and flour together (ex: cake, cookies, donuts).  He isn't bothered by just flour (with gluten) alone....as some are.  So if he wants a treat like that, I have to buy special "gluten free" produces for him.  I can buy these at any health food store and there are a lot of grocery stores that are now supplying shoppers with the same products too.  The diet issue is something that you would have to play around with and see what your child can handle.  It is different for each one.



I hope that all helps you out!  God bless you for all you do for your son.  I know it isn't easy!



Take care.  :)

Maria - posted on 04/13/2009

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Use 1-2-3 magic! It is a great program you can get videos of it as well as books on it. It is straight forward and it eliminates any arguing that can occur on either side. In fact, the parents are instructed to remain as calm as possible so the kids won't feed off of your emotions as well. It has really helped with our daughters and my sister uses it with her 8 year old ASD kid too.

Corinne - posted on 04/03/2009

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A rewards chart is a great idea.  Also, if he is interested in talking things apart, give him things that he is allowed to take apart.  If he enjoys taking electronics apart, go to goodwill or find some broken VCR's and telephones that he can play with and take apart.  Give him the time maybe half hour a day when he his allowed to be "destructive" put appropriately.  I hope this helps some.

Jennifer - posted on 04/03/2009

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I agree completely with Brandie, if you have more children to include it actually works better since you son might be more inclined to obide since he will see them getting rewards and he won't. The chart I used for Darren was a great tool. Just remember to start off slowly to not overwhelm them. One other thing we did in our house was post simple rules on the wall around the house. Such as "keep hands and feet to yourself", "no cussing", etc. That way everyone in the house was included in that as well and not making my son feel isolated or feel like it was all in regards to him or his behavior.

Brandie - posted on 04/03/2009

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i think reward charts for all of them is a great idea.. it will help to set an example to your son.. when he sees that they are receiving rewards for these things it will be even more encentive to comply !!

Amber - posted on 04/03/2009

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Thanks for the advice.  I don' really argue back, I just repeat what I already said.  He has had to walk to the bus in just socks before.  (It was either that or miss it entirely)  As far as the reward chart, any thoughts on whether i should include my 2 neurotypical kids in that?  I don't want resentment to grow.  (we have the other two every other week, as we are a blended family)

Brandie - posted on 04/03/2009

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 well ( and is just my opinion) it takes 2  too argue.. i would simply instruct him once on what needs to be done in the am.. ignore any whining, and baby talk.. he probably simply does this cuz he knows it anoys you and gets a rise out of you. dont argue.. as for his bag.. when its time to go.. go.. weather he has everything in it or he has emptyed it out. when he gts to school and needs things that arnt there.. it will be his tuff luck. as for being dressed... when its time to go.. go as is... eventualy he will learn that your not willing to argue, and your not going to baby him ( wich i think we all have a tendacy to do, weather causiously or not).



 simply i think you should step back, and choose your battles... dont stress out...



 but always remember.. when he dosent wine, or argue, make sure to give him attention and praise. do not reward any negative behaviors ( attention is a reward even if its negative attention). try setting up a chart, where he is awarded a sticker for each behavior.. no whining get 1 sticker, having everything in bag gets a sticker. make a reasonable # of stickers as a goal ( lower # in the begining) for example if he has the opertunity to earn 20 stickers in a week start with getting 10 for reward.. the reward can be as simple as friday after school he gets to chose what he wants for supper.. or maybe a fave game to play in the evening. it dosent have to cost anything.



 



 these are the principals of aba theripy ... reward the good.. not the bad.



and as for whining, arguing and sillyness like that i was always told to give it no attention.



 gl i hope this helps

Amber - posted on 04/03/2009

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One of the things that I need to correct ASAP is his morning behavior.  He whines non-stop and continues making noise/shrieking/saying the same thing over and over even after he is asked to stop.  He will argue over the simplest thing.  (Go put your shoes on... 15 minutes later he is still arguing with me about it)  He has also started lying about brushing his teeth/being dressed/having his backpack ready.  (We try to prepare as much as possible the night before, but he has been taking things out of his bag in the AM when I am not looking.)  He has also been spitting at the busstop, and baby-talking (He has a vocab that rivals mine.)  He will cling to me and say wah wah wah, over and over again..  I think he is trying to make the other kids laugh and they are, but then they are mean to him since he is WAY too old to behave that way.



 



These behaviors are primarily with me, I assume because i am the one most often with him.   On the rare occasion that my husband is home, Sebastian doesn't do this hardly at all.  (He is still slow with getting ready for school, but the shrieking/whining etc isn't there.)



 



I am now working 2 days a week, so getting him, his almost 7 year old sister, his 8 year old brother, and myself ready is becoming a nightmare.  (My 8 year old has early morning tutoring twice a week, so that adds even more "fun" to my mornings, twice a week.)  I really need to get him to stop giving me such a hard time every morning, as it is really putting a damper on my whole day from the stress of the morning.



 



He takes melatonin and calms forte before bed.  His bedtime is 7:30, he typically falls asleep around 8:30.  He gets up at 7:00AM, and leave for the bus at 7:55.  We have a fairly strict bedtime routine and rarely deviate from it.  (Our morning routine is the same, but he fights me on the AM routine, but not the PM.  Go figure)

Jennifer - posted on 04/02/2009

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Hi Amber, my 13 year old son is also high functioning autistic/aspergers and one thing that worked well with him when he was that age was a reward system. List one to two behaviors/goals at a time (maybe even one just to start). I would keep track on a chart and for every star he got in a week he could either use them for a reward. A couple things I would use was going to an ice cream shop or a special trip to his favorite park. Simple things that cost little or nothing. Once he got used to it we would add one more behavior or goal at a time and give the option for him to save his stars and cash them in for something a little bigger like bowling or mini golf. Always trying to keep cost to a minimum but making it something he would enjoy and want to work towards but also helping with correcting behavior and working toward obtainable goals.



Every situation is different and it depends on what you feel your child's capabilities are and if you think it would work for them. Hope this might give you an idea. Take care!

Brandie - posted on 04/02/2009

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my son receves aba theripy and i watch this very closely.. what exactly are the behavioral problems? i may be able to help direct you based on what they have don with my son.. i am not a profesional... and keep in mind that what works with one child may not work with another.. but im willing to do my best to help you out.

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