Hi, I would love to get some advice, regarding my 3.5 yr old son.He has been recently diagnosed with autism spectrum.He is an extremely bright kid with excellent memory.But he lacks social cues and unable to focus on activities too long.He is better at 1 on 1 activities,but in a preschool setting where he has to coexist in a group , he just moves out and isolates himself.He cant focus , and wont sit still for too long.He is a happy kid and never has tantrums and he is developing perfectly well physically.He has recently started making friend's in the neighborhood..but does not necessarily know how to play with them , max for 5 mins he may run with them..then he goes into his own worldbut he misses them and talks about them.He has a huge vocabulary, but his sentence formation is still delayed.In preschool teachers kind of get fed up as he aways wanders away into other classrooms and gets in other kids way.He is very restless He takes other kids things (BUT does NOT destroy anything).He goes to Early intervention classes 2 days a week.He loves going to school.But teachers find it hard to handle him.
Please advice what can I do help my son be calm and attentive and less restless.I want to be able to teach him how to complete tasks that he begins.
My child is not autistic but has sensory integration disorder. He had troubles with social cues and sitting/focasing as well. We've done occupational therapy since the age of 4 and I can't tell you how much it has helped. He's been given "training" if you will on social situations. We talk about how to be a good friend and practice playing. This past summer he did a social skills camp. Working on recognizing facial expressions and body language, how to initiate play, how to play fairly, how to win, how to lose, body awareness and others "space", how to not distract your friends at school amongst other things were all covered (it was a 7 week camp---- he LOVED it). He's six now and doing very well. For focas, we've also had a lot of help from occupational therapy. Physical activity and "heavy work" are the things that help the most. We did it every day before preschool, and then after school and lots on days off. Easy stuff that kids think is fun. Let me know if you need any ideas of things to do------ at this point I have about a million. goodluck
Thanks a million ,for replying.I am so glad to hear that your son is doing gr8 now.Thanks for taking your time to help parents like me as we struggle thru this phase with out kids.
I wanted to know some details, you said ur son when to occupational therapy ..was that with the early intervention classes offered by the county or did you take a private therapist? My son, goes to early intervention.There he has occupational therapy..i am not so sure if he is learning things there.They say that he participates in everything tho.
What is the procedure and costs involved in getting a personal occupational therapist?
Where can we find the "social skills camp"?We stay in PA.
Can you suggest some books or links where I can learn more about these topics.HE needs help in ALL those topics that you mentioned in the "social skills camp".
What are the techniques we can follow at home to help him cope better in social situations and Focus in school.What is done for " Physical activity and "heavy work" "?
Sorry for sending you sooo many questions.I suddenly don't feel lonely now.I just want to help my son cope with his circumstances and let people see the happy, loving and extremely cheerful side of my son.I feel very sad when people misunderstand him.
Hello, first let me say that is my pleasure to help in any way. We've been very blessed along the way and have learned a lot, I am happy to help any other family along in the journey. I was in your shoes once, trying to figure out what my next step was and how I could give my child the best chance at success. I know how it feels. It CAN feel very lonely as you deal with a whole other set of problems than most parents encounter. Worrying every day takes its toll. You can contact me anytime you need to vent or need a pep talk.
As far as occupational therapy. My son was in regular private preschool. They had a contract with an agency when they identified a child with "issues" within the school. They through a grant were able to evaluate my child. At 3.5, it was somewhat inconclusive but by 6 months later it was clear and we evaluated again. That time it was definate sensory integration disorder. We did not go to our public school system for early intervention. Instead, we stayed at the preschool we were at. The teachers were very accomodating and willing to work with him. We then started private occupational therapy. We had to go through an evaluation process again with the same diagnosis being found and then started therapy. Many insurance providers cover some if not all the expense minus a co pay (depends on what type of insurance you have). Our insurance did not cover occupational therapist (check yours, most do) so we pay out of pocket. It is not cheap at 100 dollars a session. But worth EVERY penny. We sacrifice in other ways as we see what benefit this is to our son. We checked around with school counselors (kind of an impromptu poll) and asked many people and found the best place by reputation in our city to treat sensory. Otherwise, check the phone book and call and ask their experience in dealing with sensory.
The camp was run through the occupational therapy institute that we go to. So larger offices in your city may run them (call and ask) as well A Children's hospital. However, they usually start at age 5. We worked on skills throughout therapy when our child was younger (he started OT at 4). We talked a lot about friends. We role played. I was very involved. I played with my child as if I were another child. He had to be fair at games, he had to think of some ideas of things to do with the train and he had to let me think of an idea to do with the train. We practiced winning and losing. Robot arms is an excellent cue if your child is standing to close to someone. Have him put his arms straight out like a robot and he can be no closer than that arms length. Also, first draw pictures with faces on them -------- happy, sad, mad, sleepy, etc. And have him identify them. Help him along. Then cut out pictures and do the same thing. Act it out to do the same thing. Make it a game. Also have him make the faces back to you. We read lots and lots of books on emotions to give him words for the way he feels. We also role played certain things that gave him trouble. "can I play with you"------- have him practice that. Then practice what to do if someone says yes. then practice what to do if someone says no. Then go to the park (or whereever) and practice it. Get him around kids as much as possible. Help guide him while he is with the other kids.
Keep all instructions really simple. "hands to self." "robot arms", "that is not safe". etc. They make "story books" that are really simple with a clear message that my son likes too.
The heavy work is what keeps my child focased. It affects his nervous system. Here are some ideas------ fill a laundry basket with something and have him push it along the floor, put some books into a bag and have him carry them around the house one time, anything that involves running, jumping, rolling, spinning, wrestling, climbing, etc. is good. Animal walks such as crab walk, bear walk, kageroo hop, frog hop, snake are all good. Swimming is a perfect heavy work/deep pressure activity. Kicking a socker ball is good. Tug of war. put out pillows from the couch and around the house and let him crash into them. Then have him lay down and press the pillows gently onto him. Blow bubbles, chew chewy things, drink thick liquids through a straw such as applesauce. While he may see revved up during the activity-------- the after affect of calm and focas is what you are after. Do some activities BEFORE school. Do some after school and do as much as possible on days off. Have fun with it and make every thing a game.
I understand what you mean about wanting your child to be seen for the great kid that they are. That was the thing I wrote on my school form as my number one fear for my child--------- that his teachers wouldn't get to see how cool he is. Your early intervention will help so very much.
If you have any questions, always feel free to ask me. good luck!! bless you as well.
Helloo, I cant thank you enough for sending such a detailed reply ! I already tried out 2-3 tips that you mentioned , the laundry basket and some animal walks...he loved it, but true to his nature..after 3-4 times..he just ran away !! I cant understand..thats what he always does...however interested in something , he just wont be consistent.Except for spending time with books and watching his fav DVD's.No other tasks does he complete..He loves puzzles and is really good at completing them, but half way thru he will ditch it and go do something else..and I hv to keep pushing him to go ahead and "complete " it.He rarely has the patience to complete or go thru an entire task.he just looses interest.
In day care, he goes to a Private Preschool.We recently switched him to a new school, as the teacher in the earlier school was really frustrated with his behavior and would never talk to us and something she was doing scared the wits of my son !! My son , loved to go to school.When he started with this school , he wud run into the school happily.When i got to pick him up , he wud hug me and then go back to his teacher.Then as time passed , his enthusiasm declined and he started crying when we dropped him off.And then it escalated to the point that when i go to pick him up, he cries with relief and cant wait to get out ,,,wont even let me reach his cubby..will physically push me ..and will want to GET OUT !! We also noticed that he started crying when we would take the Exit road leading to the school.The main teacher always avoided us and would never even try to talk to us...even when we came...she would avoid us and the assistant teacher would talk to us..but no one told us any reason why our son wud suddenly start hating school.He still loves going to the early intervention class. Now he started a new preschool..hopefully they will accept him better.He is an extremely bright kid..but lacks communication.
He is very figidy,..can;t sit still for any activity ..even eating meals is a struggle.He approaches total strangers on the street, asks their name, tried to get into their car, holds their hands, but ignores kids in his own classroom. Many times he does not respond to his name.Even if we tell 50 times not to do something, we will anyway go ahead..almost plays deaf.He refuses to participate in group activities at home or in school.Teacher reported that he finds it difficult to share the toys in school , which leads to pulling and eventually he ends up crying.He NEVER hits or pushes any kid.And he NEVER throws things around.He has recently started shouting and showing anger when repeated directions to do something or to stop something is given.Earlier he never showed any anger, would simply ignore us.But his "anger" does not last more than 30 sec, and he is easily directed to another activity.He has recently shown some interest in involving us in throw catch game with ball or bowling game at home..but the interest won't last long.Suddenly he will stop playing and run away.
Sometimes i feel he is like a 1 or 1.5 yr old baby and does not behave like a 3.5 yr old preschooler.He talks (recites stuff) constantly.Songs.. rhymes .. dialogues, from DVD or TV ...to himself..loudly .He loves music.And sings with good rhythm.He sings loudly at home , school and outside.He does not lower voice , like in library , school , planes or shopping areas.He just talks loudly to himself.He gets so engrossed in what he is reciting that he does pee pee in his pants and wont tell.He has "accidents" at school regularly.There was a time that he would always inform me and would be a big boy , but now "accidents " are so often and he will never inform me or his teacher.
He has a very large vocabulary and has learnt spelling of so many words even before his 2nd birthday. He taught himself to write , upper and lower case letter and numbers.He knew days, months, continents ,US states ,colors planets ..all before his 3rd birthday.But no one in his school knows that coz he refuses to talk to them.His therapist at early intervention asked if he knew English ..as he would not talk to her or respond to what she was telling him.I was shocked coz he has a vocabulary of easily more that 800-1000 words.He labels absolutely everything and somehow knows the first alphabet of most words...eg, E for Escalator or D for delicious.He simply will keep telling first alphabet of words when we try to have a conversation with him.He knows numbers in 1000's, like 1800 or 1200 he will read out the number...I have no clue where he learnt it from or who taught him !! He writes his own name .he does everything when he wishes..we can rarely get him to write or sing what we want..he has his own timing for everything.But sometimes he answers our questions.and will sing or recite what we ask him to.He also has been counting backwards at 1.5 yrs he would count backwards from 10-1...now he does almost anything backwards as well.. planets , months etc backwards..thats Dec - nov to Jan !! He learnt Spanish counting by watching Dora just 2 times and months later he never forgets or makes mistakes .!He does not seem to take any effort in learning or recollecting knowledge...it just seems natural to him.
But he does not talk in sentences yet.He communicates by labels , pointing and pushing us.He does not communicate at school at all.He does not complete tasks and gets in the way of other kids as he may take whats not his .He just does not seem to differentiate anything as "mine" or " no mine".He has started to make friends in the neighborhood kids, he shows affection to them , but cant fully participate in games with them!!
I AM SOO SORRRY I just go carried away..its kind of relief to be able to pour the weight out of my heart.i wrote such a long mail....sorrry .well. this should give u a pretty clear idea about my son.
I shall surely follow the tips u gave me.I am sure your son did not have these "autism " symptoms, but if you any inputs , advices ,ideas on how I can help my son and improve the quality of life...Please let me know!!!
I have worked with autistic children for 9 years. And one in particular sounds so much like your son. I love working with them... they are amazing!! There are so many things you can do to teach/ help him... I wouldn't know where to start. If you could give me a few behaviors you would like to increase or decrease I would be happy to give you some things I've found effective. The post above is excellent. Bravo to a great mom! If only every child were so lucky! Take care. =)
Thanks for answering my query ! 9 yrs experience..wow...I really hope you will be able to help me out !! There r some area that I need help,
1.His constant reciting/singing , some days its extreme and he is unable to follow any commands, when he is in this mode.Its as if he is in his own world !
2.Unable to connect with teachers and classmates.He has started showing interest in regularly seen neighbors and even strangers, but in classrooms he is distant.He seems to prefer older or younger kids..not his own age.
3.Lower his voice in public places or in school.
4.He has started tearing stuff in school , destroying things.(does not do that at home)
5.He had been very well potty trained, but now his accidents have increased much more.
6.Very active, he is unable to sit thru an activity.Wander away in class, he wont sit with the rest of the class to do the activity.
Great move by getting him out of his pre-school! That would have only made things much worse. You need to make sure the new school is well aware of the situation and also aware of any techniques that are shared with you for working with him.
It sounds like he might also have some ADHD tendencies. I highly recommend you get "The ADD/ ADhD Answer book." , by Susan Ashley. Many of the techniques mentioned in the book will be very helpful for your son. They also can be used by his teachers.
I feel for him. He sounds highly intelligent. It has to be extremely frustrating to be so smart and not be able to communicate it. Whether this is because his brain is racing so fast, he can't keep up with it or something else I don't know. But anything that you can do to help him communicate will be very important. I don't know who diagnosed your child, but I would definitely try to keep seeing them a lot. You need a tremendous amount of information to help your little guy. If you are not seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist specializing in children with autistic/ADHD disorders, I would start looking for one. Keep us posted.
Thanks so much for your comments ! I am trying my best to get as much information as possible.
We got him evaluated by our county...thats how he entered the Early Intervention.We have applied for getting him evaluated by CHOP.Our pediatrician said CHOP did a much more detailed Evaluation.I too have my doubts if he has ADD.He is not hyperactive, but is restless, can't sit still.People tell its typical for boys his age.Still I just want to make sure.
I have ordered the Susan Ashley book from our library.I shall sure try the techniques mentioned in there.Thanks for the suggestion.
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