Socially unacceptable behavior and helping to change it....

Amber - posted on 12/09/2008 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Hi- My son is going to be six in Jan. and was diagnosed w/ PDD NOS at age 3. He is high functioning and does fine academically so far- but socially he is - well, friendly but many times inappropriate. Other kids tend to lean away from him because he is so in their face. He will run up to another child on the playground and just make a monster noise, then run away and say "get me!". While sometimes the kids will play, most of the time they shy away from such an aggressive greeting! Additionally, he has added a few tics, i guess, in addition to the "toe walking" and stimming. Now he is doing things like cursing under his breath over and over, almost where he acts as though he is not aware of it (yes- he got the curse from his parents! :( ) He puts his hands to his anus then smells it. He is an avid nose-picker. Sometimes when I am trying to speak to his sister he will stand in the backround and simply make noise, whatever noise he can think of. We have tried modeling behavior and correcting the behavior and am kinda at a loss. He tells me his brain does these things and wont stop. Is this therapist territory? What has anyone else been successful/unsuccessful at trying? Is this NT behavior that I should just deal with? He is my first so I have no frame of reference, I'm afraid. Thanks so much!

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Kerry - posted on 12/11/2008

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Yes amber i have one who does the fleas thing too. Just last night my son 12 went to his bedroom and found a snake (carpter python) curled around his shelves. I had to come up with a rational answer for how it got in there. So i told the kids that as son had just moved furniture into this room, in the last few days, the snake had probably called in to one of the sets of drawers he had moved. It had beeen in the drawers hiding from the heat when he moved it, and now it was hungry so had moved to where he could see it. Miss auty 14 kept asking me if there could be a snake in her room, because as it was a baby it might have brothers there. I had to tell her several times that no there would not be snakes in her room, and no more would be in the house, snakes travel on their own. Took quite a few hours to convince her that there is no other snake in the house, and she still slept in the lounge room!

Amber - posted on 12/11/2008

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Thanks Kerry- i had to laugh when I read your post because he has done this several times- one thing replaces another! So true. Seems like there are so many things to "work on" sometimes that it's hard to choose. ie: we had to put flea drops on our cat, and I explained to him it is because the cat has fleas. I explained what fleas are and how they get on cats- now he is convinced that the fleas are on him, and that if he touches the cat he will get fleas. There ya go. You never know where it's going to come from. :)

Kerry - posted on 12/10/2008

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helllo amber, welcome. I found that a simple correction of the behaviour helped one of my 3 autys. I will tell you the one that was most successful so you can see what i mean. My daughter would race over to her sisters friend whenever she cam into the house and pick her up and shake her. I told my daughter that Jody was a little scared when she does that and that we dont pick people up and shake them when we are happy to see them, we go over and shake hand s gently or hug them and say "hello its good to see you". She jsut didnt understand that we dont actually talk to people or do things they way they see them done in cartoons. So some intervention like that helped at home.
It is therapist territory, so you can work on a lot of behaviours at one time (hopefully with little stress), and beside an immediate help, working with the therapist may give you some help for in the longer teerm, so you can work on things before they become a problem.
The scratching the butt thing really needs some work because of the hygene factor. One lecture i went to with Tony Atwood was based on these little things the kids do that tend to amuse them for some reason, he said to use caution, if you try to change a behaviour that is not dangerous, be careful because the child may replace it woth something worse. his eg was a child who would run sand through their fingers the parents worked hard to change this as they thought it was strange, but the problem is that the behaviour it changed to was picking his butt ans sniffing it! So go into changing things carefully. Maybe use the words on him that when he picks his butt, you tell him calmly that if he must do that it is a behind closed doors thing (aka in his room) and that is the only place he should do that, because if he does it outside a big old dog might decide his fingers smell good and want to bite them off. or something equally awful that makes logical sense to your son.
Its all a trial, get whatever help you can, and be calm, but choose the battles you are going to fight with care, remembering in some cases it could be worse.! good luck

Amber - posted on 12/10/2008

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The school has him in a "peer counseling group" for some behaviors, but I think you are right about therapy. He is becoming more aware that he is different and I want so badly to cushion him from things before they happen- but you know how that goes. Otherwise he is a very friendly kid! Thanks for lending an ear..

Yes, please add me as a friend! :)

Erin - posted on 12/10/2008

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Yes take him to a therapist, you should have him in therapy for other reasons also. They can help him understand why he cant stop those things. I once asked my son why he kept doing something and he said God just made him bad. My son focuses on certain negative behaviors then switches for a while. They almost always return. Whistling, clapping patterns, punching others in the crotch for no reason at all, the list goes on and on. My point is that I am sure your son hates not having control of his actions and a therapist can help him cope while preventing damage to his self esteem

Kathleen - posted on 12/10/2008

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My son was much the same....concerta really helped but so did him getting older~ he will realize sooner than you think that he's not acting like the other kids...But I know it can be very frustrating. I'd like to add you as a friend and talk more with you about your son...and mine.~Kathleen

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