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In need of advice!

Posted by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 8:29 AM
  • 8 Replies

Hello.  I'm a first-time mom of a very active 3 year old who was just diagnosed as being Autistic.  Now I am on information overload (thanks to so many websites and books available) to the point where I'm about to pull my hair out.  I'm not sure how much more information I can take in, so now I'm just looking for advice.

Sleep:  Since the day we brought him home from the hospital, my son, AJ, has NEVER had a sleep schedule.  As much as my husband and I have tried, and with as many different meathods we've tried, we just can't seem to get him on a regular schedule.  When I mentioned this to the doctor, they gave me a pittying look, suggested that I put him in bed and "let him cry it out", and that was all.  

I can't let him cry it out!  Not only does it tear at me, AJ gets so upset that he will make himself physicaly ill (vomit).  It just seems cruel, and it didn't work anyway, so I've pretty much resigned myself to a life of forced insomnia.

Potty Training:  Dear God, I can't even fathom how to start!

Eating:  SJ is a very texture-driven eater.  He loves anything chicken, and certain forms of potatoes (mostly fried, unfortunately), but will NOT eat anything else.  We tried making him sit in the high chair until he ate something different, but I think he'd just sit in the chair and starve rather than touching anything other than chicken and potatoes.  Any suggestions?

Moving:  On top of everything else, we're about to begin packing and moving to another state.  Can anyone give me advice on how to make the transition easier on my little guy?

Sorry to hit you all up about this at once, but I'm feeling a little lost.  My family pretty much thinks I'm crazy, they don't see the Autism in AJ at all, so they're not all that helpful.  I've tried looking into support groups, but can't find anything in my area...and with the upcoming move, I'd hate to start looking now!

Thank you all for being here, and making it pissible to reach out to others for support!  

Sara

by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 8:29 AM
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Replies (1-8):
HFBMOM
by Julie on Jan. 15, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Hi, welcome to the group. I don't have lots of advice for you, but I can offer the following suggestions regarding your move: Show your son lots of pictures of your new house and neighborhood. Show him pictures of the kitchen,  the new backyard, or the park in the new neighborhood and if your son likes a particular chain store or restaurant, show him a picture of that too. Your real estate agent can provide you with the pictures if you can't get there yourself. if you will be renting, ask the manager or new boss to send pictures.  Talk about the fact that this is where you are going to live, and he gets to come with you to live there too. Make it exciting for him. Talk about how when it's time to move, you will put all his things in boxes so you can take them with you. On the outside of the boxes, put pictures of his things, so you both know where they are.

If you are flying, to the new state, familiarize him with the airport ahead of time, if you are driving, talk about being in the car for a certain amount of time (2 sesame street videos(?)), then you'll get out to eat and play outside for awhile, then get back in the car again for another time period.

I just started reading the book A Friend Like Henry by Nuala Gardner. She writes about dealing with her severly autisitic son and the way she prepared him for upcoming changes. I think these are the kind of things she would do.

Julie
Enhancing Lives and Helping Moms Work from Home
www.HealthyFamilyBiz.com

twins0506
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 10:10 AM
For the sleeping: I never believed in cry it out. Imo its cruel. Everyone has their own ways so I don't judge but I don't like it... I get my boys to sleep by cuddling with them. Sometimes I have to lay them on their stomach and put a bunch of pillows on their back. It helps comfort them.

Eating: they eat just a handful of things also. Pb & j, cereal (izaiah only), fries, chicken, deli meat, and any kind of junk food. I do try to offer new foods but if they don't want it I don't force it. I just give them what I know they eat. I also don't believe in the "he'll eat it if he's hungry enough." They really will go all day without eating if I don't give them something they like.

Potty training: if your son isn't ready don't force it. My boys show no signs of being ready. They are 3 also. I sat them on the toilet and they wouldn't go for it. So when they are ready I will try.

For the moving I have no idea. I'm sure someone else can help you with that.

Welcome to the group!!
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Kittie26
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Ha - I hate to tell you this, but welcome to the world of autism! Sounds very "typical" for a child on the spectrum. I hope some with older children can help you. My daughter is 2.5, so you've had more experience than I have. ((HUGS))

Momma2JandK
by on Jan. 15, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Our little guy won't sleep without his 'bucket' on the bed.  It's one of those big buckets that you put toys in.  He has to have it on his toddler bed, his favorite pillow inside, and his pillow pet on the edge so the bump doesn't hurt him.  Then he curls up inside of it and I put his blankie on him.  Odd, but it works!

Like other moms, we give them what they like to eat and continue to try to introduce new foods.  Little K won't eat anything 'slimey' without a fork or spoon...have you tried that?  Even his favorite foods he has to  have a fork so they don't touch his hands.  We give lots of milk for nutrients as well, especially on 'no food' days.  He has a lot of days he won't eat, even his favorite foods.

I can't imagine moving K (I have to use initials for the kids as we are in the process of adoption.) to another state; nope don't want to think about it!    I'd suggest DVD playrer and lots of favorite movies and music. 

 

2shy1980
by on Jan. 18, 2012 at 5:01 AM

Thank you all for the advice!  It's hard feeling so out of step with all of this...I can only imagine how poor AJ feels!  It helps talking to people who are there or have already been there!  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you!

~Sara

Brody320
by on Jan. 18, 2012 at 6:46 AM

BUMP!

mom2zachy122
by on Jan. 18, 2012 at 7:10 AM

yep, familiar with all those issues!

Luckily for me, Z is a prett good eater, but I raised a godson for awhile who was really tough.  He ate bagels, fries, pizza ad that was it.  Sometimes I could force some yogurt into him, sometimes not.  He's not on the spectrum, but in this one area he's a LOT like it.  I never had much success with him.

Sleeping:  We have had awful issues with Z and sleep.  Both falling asleep and staying asleep.  There were times when he would sleep for 20 minute to an hour, cry for an hour, sleep for 20 minutes to an hour, cry for 15 minutes, etc.  It got better as he got older, but it wasn't until he was about three and the pediatric neurologist suggested Melatonin that we got a little relief.  He takes about 3 mg a night and it's a wonder getting him to sleep.  His trouble now is staying asleep.  We're looking into medication for that as well.  I'm not  proponent of tons of meds but this is signigicantly affecting the entire family and it's a problem....so that's how I am dealing with that.....at least for now :)

As far as the potty training...Z has a nuerological bladder and so was unable to control his urination.  Detrol (an anti-spasmodic) has helped tremendously.  One ting that was a big help was the school.  They put him on a two hour schedule during the day and we followed it through at home.  Once his bladder issues were addressed adn the 2 hour schedule was in place, he did well.

Good luck, Mama!

odie_driver
by on Jan. 18, 2012 at 7:18 AM

Whew, that's a lot... here's my advice, take it or leave it (That's pretty much my motto with all the information out there on Autism!)

Quoting 2shy1980:

Hello.  I'm a first-time mom of a very active 3 year old who was just diagnosed as being Autistic.  Now I am on information overload (thanks to so many websites and books available) to the point where I'm about to pull my hair out.  I'm not sure how much more information I can take in, so now I'm just looking for advice.

Sleep:  Since the day we brought him home from the hospital, my son, AJ, has NEVER had a sleep schedule.  As much as my husband and I have tried, and with as many different meathods we've tried, we just can't seem to get him on a regular schedule.  When I mentioned this to the doctor, they gave me a pittying look, suggested that I put him in bed and "let him cry it out", and that was all.  

I can't let him cry it out!  Not only does it tear at me, AJ gets so upset that he will make himself physicaly ill (vomit).  It just seems cruel, and it didn't work anyway, so I've pretty much resigned myself to a life of forced insomnia.

I snuggle and cuddle my kids to sleep if I'm able. If I'm not, then I use heavy blankets (one kid gets a few down sleeping bags and another gets about 5 of the heaviest blankets I own in the house) - The heaviness seems to comfort them - and actually you can buy "Weighted blankets" for this very purpose. Lots of people use them for general comforting instead of just at bedtime. 

Potty Training:  Dear God, I can't even fathom how to start!

This is how we started with my youngest (My oldest just sort of grew out of it herself.. YAY!). We'd set up a time of day (or a few times when we started) where we'd have the time to go through this (I'm a SAHM, but if you work, it could just be a day off or after work etc). Then we'd ply her with drinks. Her favorite juice etc. Just let her drink her little heart out. Then, we'd set the timer for 20 minutes. When the timer went off, it was time to go potty. We'd go to the bathroom and sit on the potty for 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, until she pottied. If she pottied she got awesome reinforcement (Like a mini dance, or big hugs, or 'superman around the room' etc). If she didn't, no big deal, we'd just try again. 

Eating:  SJ is a very texture-driven eater.  He loves anything chicken, and certain forms of potatoes (mostly fried, unfortunately), but will NOT eat anything else.  We tried making him sit in the high chair until he ate something different, but I think he'd just sit in the chair and starve rather than touching anything other than chicken and potatoes.  Any suggestions?

Lots of parents with Autism go through this, its very common for our kids to limit their diets on their own to things that are of a certain texture or lack color (Chicken and pototoes or just chicken is VERY VERY VERY common). What you can do to try to get him to eat different kinds of food, is have his own food as a reward, or something else he really likes to eat as a treat, like skittles or something. At first, maybe don't make him eat it, just tolerate it on his plate. Then maybe make him lick it or sniff it to get used to it (if its something completely different that you would like to eat on a regular basis as a family). Then maybe take one bite. After each "stage" give him his reward. Then you can keep increasing until he eats the whole thing. Be aware tho, that some things will just always throw them off (its like if you don't like cauliflour, you're just never gonna like it). My oldest has a problem with sauce. We're trying to get her to eat pizza. She will now eat the peperoni, the cheese and the end of the crust of a pizza, but to get her to eat ANYTHING ELSE of it, she has to WIPE the sauce off!!! Silly right?? But she won't accept sauce on ANYTHING. Its just one of her quirks that someday, we might work on, but today, its not a priority!. 

Moving:  On top of everything else, we're about to begin packing and moving to another state.  Can anyone give me advice on how to make the transition easier on my little guy?

Try pictures or a social story geared to him and your exact move. If its a long move with lots of driving or a flight, make sure you have lots of distractors in your magical mommy bag. Also, you might want to test gravol. Some kids it keeps them calm and others it makes them go nuts. Once you get there, try to stay in the same (ish) routine that you had at your old house, but be sure to show him how much fun it is to live in your new house. 

Sorry to hit you all up about this at once, but I'm feeling a little lost.  My family pretty much thinks I'm crazy, they don't see the Autism in AJ at all, so they're not all that helpful.  I've tried looking into support groups, but can't find anything in my area...and with the upcoming move, I'd hate to start looking now!

Thank you all for being here, and making it pissible to reach out to others for support!  

Sara

Good luck!

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