My son has a form of Autism and is deathly afraid of flying bugs! I've tried many interventions but can't reason with him. What can I do?

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Cristina - posted on 10/30/2008

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wow, nothing brings out creative parenting like having a child on the spectrum... neat ideas... my son has a very limited diet... our help with his sensory issues has come from occupational therapy... they have been amazing in combatting his fears of sound, heights, resistance to change, and limited diet... i highly recommend OT... i'm enjoying all the creative suggestions...

Kerry - posted on 10/30/2008

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O smart little cookie is probably a little old to start calling things other names, maybe you could make a big production of you eating the things, like when you have brocolli fall on the ground and roll around like arrgg this thing is a tree its attacking me from inside! really hamming it up. Laughter might help, well i think it might certainly serve to make him unafraid of the veges (if that is where the problem is). Luckily in a lot of situations laughter will work, or you making a big fool of yourself might encourage him to look at things a little differently. lol this may backfire and he might expect the whole gagging on the floor routine every time you have the foods!
I had industrial ear muffs for my son for when we travelled in the car. His siters had a habit of singing, and they would sing for hours, it really offended his ears and would end up with him punching the girls so they would shut up. So we got the big noise stop ear mufffs and trained him to get them out from under the seat when in the car with the girls in it. he would get them out himself, and he knew the reason was because the girls have every right to sing to passa journey, and mum and dad really like to hear the girls sing, so because his autism made the noises all wrong in the car and the sound to him was not good, he should wear ear muffs in the car. I didnt take him to any activity that was inside, because of echos and noises that would hurt his head. Crickets noises can actually seem a hundred times louder to an autistic so imagine a wooden echoing room with 30 other voices in it, ewwwww!
you are doing great though, the win is in trying new things and yes patience. keep up the good work!

[deleted account]

You know another thing we did also was raised some bugs. There are kits you can buy that you can raise ladybugs and also butterflies. My daughter thought it was soo neat to do. She is a very logical in her thinking like a little mini scientist and instead of being scared of the bugs she was learning so she didnt mind them at all.

We also got her a fire bellied toad and while the bugs it eats dont fly they hop. She was scared of them as well. So with her toad she knew she had to feed it *the severe rule following.* She was squeamish at first but then was so anxious to watch the toad eat its food that she didn't mind handling the crickets.

[deleted account]

Hi, is there any cool creepy crawly zoo or program in the area? How about building a model of a bug, the kind you can get at museum stores or educational stores, to build together. what about lady bugs. they are flying bugs and maybe you could start off studying them or even help him make a cool bug costume.

Denise - posted on 10/28/2008

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Thanks for all the help! Patience is the key! Lately we've been trying to get him involved in Cub Scouts but the loud noise level makes him want to leave rather quickly. We bought the ear plugs but they didn't seem to make a difference so we're borrowing a friend's ear muffs (used for hunting, races, etc) to see if those will work. Wish us luck! As for food, he is such a smarty-pants that we've failed attempts at re-naming foods to get him to try. One whiff of a spongebob chicken nugget and he started gagging!

Michelle - posted on 10/28/2008

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Have you tried a bug catcher. Maybe if he can see bug like that things may change.Good Luck.

Kerry - posted on 10/28/2008

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Hello denise, welcome to the circle.
I too had sensory issues with my son, I found that sometimes it was no big deal to just let him have things his way. even now at 21 he will only wear denim shorts and only from one particualr store. So i just buy him 3 or 4 pairs at once and her wears them out one by one. He doesnt like fabrics with lots of nylons or synthetics so it is only t shirts he will wear. He wont wear a coat because he doesnt like them, and it doesnt get anywhere near snow here so thats not so bad, it does cost in electric heater bills tho.
I had his school polo shirts made in the same style and colour but in tshirt cotton, a uniform manufacturer made them for around the same cost as the original school nylon weavey type stuff, and he had collars and all.
His eating malfunction was that if he smelled it and didnt like it smell he would never ever touch it. Im told that this one can actually make the 'gag' response happen, so i dont blame him. But if he wouldnt have what everyone else was having he was only allowed a toasted sandwich or a bowl of 2 min noodles (eww thats a stink to me). he soon became less strict about it and would occasionally try something. But if it had spices he would gulp it down. He loves chilli and other hot spices, and always would eat sour fruit, like limes especially if he got to pick it from the tree. Perhaps try growing the veges and visiting a fruit farm to pick fruit. There was a few we found he would eat, oranges green apples (but he liked to bang these on the bench and bruise them really badly before eating them) lychee and melons and mango.
perhaps even try tinned fruit in natural juice.
When my aspergers daughter was little she would not go outside as she was scared of ants. all we could do was allow her to have her fear but explain how much bigger she was than them, so how much more she would hurt them by stepping on them. it took a while but she got to going outside, but will run a mile if she sees an ants nest or a whole big lot of ants.
Patience is the key, try things but remember that you need to choose your battles, so really if it isnt really going to hurt him at his age, leave it be. LOL there is a funny way i just thought of that i would use on my son if i had thought of it, buy him a snake or lizard that eats bugs and slowly get him to feed the pet.....
good luck

[deleted account]

Your welcome.. and don't mention it. I am always game to share the things that have worked for us. Each child is different so its hard to find that one thing that works for them.

her sensory issues are an ever changing thing for us and dealing with them can be very stressful. Her main sensory things are textures of clothing. ie, the metal buttons on jeans.. she will not wear jeans with the buttons. Turtle necks are a big no no. A few others are the texture of cheese, loud noisy environments, the feel of metal.. ie the monkey bars at school.

For noise she carries a set of pretty purple ear plugs with her everywhere. We also have extras in her lunch bag and she keeps one in her desk.

For the touch issues she has a pair of gloves that have gripper hands on them and she uses them when outside.

As for the food, it's a really tricky thing. For the longest time my daughter would not eat carrots. I found that if I take the veggies and fruits that she has texture issues with and make them into something fun like say a pie.. she does better. For example.. for carrots I make carrot pie out of them. Its low in sugar and tastes good and she eats it. She loves mushy textures with foods. And as an added bonus.. my youngest eats it too. So I'm getting veggies down two kids at once. For crunchy veggies like cauliflower and broccoli we have from a young age told her she is eating a forest. She calls the broccoli little trees and the cauliflower is snowy trees.

As for smells of foods, I have tried everything I can think of to mask certain smells. For example the smell of tomato sauce she used to not be able to tolerate. The only thing I can think of to try would be the smells of food that he dislikes try giving a tiny bit at a time.. for us like with the tomato sauce we gave her a tsp full on her pasta for a week then gradually increased the amount. It's really odd but it's all most like she built up a tolerance to the smell and now she eats it no problem.

Denise - posted on 10/28/2008

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My son has PDD-NOS with a lot of Asperger's traits and is very high functioning as well. Thank you for your idea. It won't hurt to try! How do you cope with her sensory intergration issues? My son has a big problem with many foods esp. their smells and textures. (no pasta, veg.s, minimal fruits). I'm going to try hiding baby vegs in some foods he eats and keep my fingers crossed. Any other hints?

[deleted account]

My 8 year old daughter was very afraid of flying bugs. She has PDD-NOS. (all her traits are Aspergers) she is very high functioning and lacks in emotional areas. She also has Sensory Intergration issues. What we did for her was we got her a ton of little plastic bugs to play with and we checked out several books from our library about bugs. It took a few months of repeating this over and over.. but now she is only afraid of the bugs as she puts it that hurt. Like bees. She panics when bees come near her. But flys or moths things like that she doesnt. In fact she is very intrigued by moths. She loves to look at all the different patterns they have on their wings. Hope that helped a bit.

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