Looking for Help with my autistic son's behaviour problems

Andrea - posted on 05/13/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Can anyone offer any suggestions on how to help me deal with my autistic son's behaviour issues. Over the last 2 months or so my son has developed very defiant behaviours and it is starting to affect him at school. These behaviours are largely attention getting behaviours that range from loud grunting and calling out, to banging on tables, walls, etc. He has been placed in time outs numerous times in school and that does not seem to be working. He just had a note sent home from school about the fact that he will not be able to take part in gym if his behaviour doesn't improve. I and his grandparents are at our wits end about what to do, and he knows what he is doing is wrong which is part of the problem. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance :)

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Verity - posted on 05/16/2010

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Hi there, I am a mum to a 5 year old boy with autism. I also work in a school with children with special needs, including autistic children.

First of all, does your child have any one-to-one support in school? If so, you need to sit down with that person and discuss strategies for dealing with this behaviour. If your child doesn't have any support with his autism in school and it is available, I would certainly consider arranging this.

This kind of trait is not unusual in a child with autism and the school he goes to really should be able to deal with it. If not, they need to learn how to!

I would reccomend suggesting to your school that they work together with you on your son's social skills. Although an autistic child cannot always understand why certain behaviours are not acceptable and the consequences of their actions, they can learn the right behaviour, over time with lots of support.

The things that work best with my son are instant rewards for positive behaviour - we have a pebble jar which gets a few pebbles added to it each time he does something well and he gets a reward of his choice (within reason!) when the pebbles reach a certain level - having a visual aid always seems to work well with autistic children rather than the promise of a reward.

Time outs are fine, they work sometimes with my child. However rewarding positive behaviour works much better.

Also social stories are a great thing to do. My child used to hit out a lot in school and we used them with him to curb that. It is just a case of adapting a social story to suit your child's particular problem and reading it through together at least once a day. Here is a website I found on google that has a few examples, or you could write one of your own - http://www.polyxo.com/socialstories/

Sometimes, an autistic child can become frustrated with not knowing what exactly is going on. They can also react negatively to changes in routine. Visual timetables are great. Or perhaps you and/or someone at school can sit down with him and prepare him for what he is doing each day and what is expected of him during each lesson.

You are not alone in what you are going through - it certainly can be very tough and wearing - but, with time, you may be able to improve things, with the right strategies (and lots and lots of repetition!).

See what support there is out there for you and grab it with both hands! Dealing with an autistic child is very hard at times and you shouldn't have to do it all on your own!

I hope this helps a little bit.

xxx

Andrea - posted on 05/27/2010

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For those who mentioned whether my son's IEP addresses his behaviour, I don't believe it does. I'm hesistant about placing him on any meds because I've heard and seen horror stories of kids walking around like zombies. As muc as I am against medicating him, I'm thinking that may be a serious option to consider. I will definitely talk to his teachers and try to implement a behaviour plan that will help him in school. Thanks again for all the wonderful suggestions! :)

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EDee - posted on 10/08/2011

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this is exactly what i'm dealing with now. my son is 10 and has been having issues at school..I was wondering what I should do. he has a teacher this year that has decided he shouldn't be treated any differently than anyone else. the school year is driving me crazy already and it just began...I have a meeting monday and am Looking for suggestions to give them....he takes behavior medicines. he's been so moody lately. he even poured milk on a sub aide the other day. I have never saw him like this before..It hurts not knowing what I can do for him. Any suggestions of what I should tell the school?

Helen - posted on 05/27/2010

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My 13 yr old son has had his own one on one aide since beginning pre-k. In the past 4 yrs. the BOE has also given him an ABA therapist to help with his behavior and social skills. He has had female teachers up until this year. In the past his in school behavior has been to the point that his aide had to remove him from classroom. This year with a male teacher she has not had to take him out of classroom at all. In my sons' case, a male teacher made a big difference. His aide is female.Does he have a caseworker through school? If so, speak with her/him to see what can be done about his behavior. From my point of view-as they grown into teens, it gets worse as they don't understand about puberty and that is basically when my sons' behavior started.

Paula - posted on 05/24/2010

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Have you tried IBI (Intensive Behavioral Intervention)? It has worked wonders for my son, at least through the company who provides the service for us - Behavioral Dimensions. Many companies provide the service all over, but the waiting list can be very long and the intake process can be a lot of paperwork, but it's all worth it. We tried drugs to no avail - they made him a zombie. His IEP didn't help and school had no clue how to handle him. He was getting more and more violent with more frequent meltdowns. Even therapy said they couldn't help after years of trying and pointed us in the direction of IBI. I sure am glad they did!! Within months he was so much better - more calm, fewer outbursts. They haven't even worked with him for a year and we rarely see an outburst anymore!!! It's wonderful - he's happy and we're happy! What used to be an occurrence 5-10 times a day (or more) is now once every few weeks!!
Here is an explanation of IBI on the companies website:
http://www.behavioraldimensions.com/abou...
Hope this helps! Good luck!

FERN - posted on 05/22/2010

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please get in touch with the AUtism treatment centre in USA. you might be able to get the help you need (www.sonrise.org)
I believe you are writing form USA.
Fern

Cherish - posted on 05/22/2010

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Hi,
Are you in the US?
First the school (in US anyhow) needs to do a behavior plan,and if the behavior is a a manifestation of his disability then they can not just exclude him from activity's...

Also they need to do calming things for him when they see he is escalating,before the behavior starts,to try to "avoid" the behavior in the first place.
My son is almost 8 and has "severe" behaviors(pinching,kicking,head banging,biting,running away..etc)

he has been on risperdone for 2 years and it has helped greatly reduce his aggressive behavior

Shauna - posted on 05/20/2010

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my son is 4 an severe his behaviours hav skyrocketed out of control so i know how u feel we r doin med changes to try an help as well i have aba therapy so we r tryin different strategies the most important thing is try not to reinforce the negative behaviours an hugely reward the positive if he has a ta at school they shud b helpin with this as well u shud b callin a case team meeting to discuss how to work with him an try to majke his days better ats school

Mandee - posted on 05/19/2010

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If the child's IEP addresses their behavior then they cannot be excluded from other activities, including gym. If it isn't in there, you can by law request a review of the IEP at an time in writing, and they have to do so. Also, it may be a good time to ask them to consider a one-to-one during these times. It helped tremendously with our little one.

Renee - posted on 05/19/2010

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Does you child have an IEP and Behaviour plan?My Nigel has severe adhd/bipolar as well as intermittent explosive disorder .i cut out red dye 40,no atrifical sweeteners,limit sweets.He requires meds but I use all typical meds less side effects

Andrea - posted on 05/18/2010

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Wow, thanks for all the suggestions ladies! I really appreciate it. I will sit down with his grandparents and look into all of these ideas to see how they can help my son.

Tracy - posted on 05/17/2010

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When we cut out all dairy products from our son's diet he calmed right down and focuses more on his tasks. It took about 2 weeks for the transition to be complete and it has now been 5 yrs and he is not missing any of the dairy products he once had.

Kimberly - posted on 05/16/2010

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Verity has made some really good points and suggestions.

My daughter had to start taking medication to help her with her behavior. I told her neurologist when it started becoming a problem in and out of school and she prescribed her something that evens out her behavior. Of course, medicine alone donesn't work. We have to also stick with routine and make sure we are not rewarding bad behavior. Like Verity stated instant visual rewards for positive behavior works well. Consistancy and not giving in. Making sure you have support in school and that you are on the same page.

Fits can be dangerous. My daughter is 10 and almost my size so we needed to include the doctor to get it under control. Other methods may work for you but asking a health care professional wouldn't hurt.

Good luck.

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